Coronavirus impacts: Vietnam’s popular resort towns say no to tourists

By Hoang Phong, Nguyen Nam   March 18, 2020 | 05:15 am PT
Coronavirus impacts: Vietnam’s popular resort towns say no to tourists
The Mui Ne fishing village in Phan Thiet Town. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Huy Trung.
Mui Ne, Phan Rang-Thap Cham and Sa Pa are saying no to visitors after detecting Covid-19 carriers.

Authorities in Binh Thuan Province, home to nine out of 52 active Covid-19 cases, have announced its popular resort area, Mui Ne in Phan Thiet Town, has suspended receiving visitors starting Tuesday until further notice.

Mui Ne, one of the most popular vacation spots in the country, is often referred to as "a seaside paradise". Over the last few years, it has added to its vacation value by offering many exciting water sports like windsurfing, surfing, jet-skiing, and kayaking.

All hotels and other lodgings in the area are required to implement anti-epidemic measures to ensure the community’s health and safety. Binh Thuan currently has about 7,570 tourists, including more than 6,400 international visitors, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. 

Phan Rang-Thap Cham, a popular tourist town in neighboring Ninh Thuan Province, has also stopped receiving tourists after two infections were reported in the locality.

The patients, residents of the south central province's Thuan Nam District, had attended an Islamic event in Malaysia that gathered more than 16,000 people. Authorities have made an urgent announcement on identifying people who attended the event after hundreds of participants contracted the novel coronavirus.

Authorities in Ninh Thuan have since decided to shut down all bars, beer clubs, karaoke parlors and other entertainment services to prevent the spread of the virus.

The resort town of Sa Pa in the northern highlands province of Lao Cai is another hotspot that has closed itself to visitors after a 30-year-old British visitor who was confirmed positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. He had stayed in the town from March 11 to 13.

Lao Cai has also shut down all bars, karaoke parlors, massage services and other entertainment facilities.

Sa Pa in thick cloud. Photo by VnExpress. 

Sa Pa in thick cloud. Photo by VnExpress. 

Vietnam's largest island, Phu Quoc, in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang previously announced that it has temporarily suspended receiving tourists and closing all bars and restaurants after a Latvian visitor tested Covid-19 positive Sunday.

So far, most popular tourist spots in Vietnam, including Hanoi and Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam and the ancient town of Hoi An in the central region, have closed their doors to visitors.

In the south, most Mekong Delta provinces have closed all bars, karaoke parlors and entertainment services as well as historical relics and tourist sites from Tuesday onwards.

The Reunification Palace, a Saigon landmark, has closed its doors until the end of March. HCMC has also shut down all discos, bars, beer clubs, karaoke parlors, massage parlors, movie theaters and internet cafes from last Sunday.

Other famous islands, including Con Dao, Cu Lao Cham and Ly Son have temporarily halted tourist operations.

The novel coronavirus has slashed an estimated $7 billion in Vietnam’s tourism revenues for January-February 2020, with the number of hotel guests in this period decreasing year-on-year by 60-70 percent, Government Office Chief Mai Tien Dung said at a meeting last week.

Vietnam has recorded 52 new Covid-19 cases since March 6 after 22 days going without any new infection. Of this, 19 are foreigners.

Two of the 52 patients, a 69-year-old British man and a 64-year-old Vietnamese woman, both in Hanoi, are in critical condition.

The Covid-19 outbreak has thus far spread to 162 countries and territories, with the death toll climbing to over 7,400.

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