Top tourist destinations near fully booked despite Covid-19 menace

By Nguyen Quy, Lan Huong   April 28, 2021 | 05:00 am PT
Top tourist destinations near fully booked despite Covid-19 menace
An aerial view of Sa Pa Town's center in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Ngan Duong.
Vietnam's top tourist destinations are expecting large crowds during the upcoming holiday despite bigger Covid-19 risks, booking data from leading travel firms shows.

After over a month without a single case of community transmission, many Vietnamese have booked to join tours during the four-day break (April 30-May 3) which marks Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1).

As of Tuesday, Vietravel reported it had reached 95 percent of its bookings target for the holiday. The company expects to serve a total 15,000 travelers, with many choosing to visit Sa Pa, Ha Long, Hanoi in the north, Phu Quoc Island in the south and coastal city Da Nang in the central region.

A company representative said no customers have canceled or delayed their tours despite complicated Covid-19 developments in neighboring countries.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, general director of Hanoi Redtours, said trips to the northeast region, including Ha Giang Province and Sa Pa Town in Lao Cai Province, or the central region were fully booked two weeks ago.

Hoan said after the Covid-19 outbreaks, Vietnamese now tend to visit nearby tourist destinations, with no one requesting to cancel their tours.

In addition to pandemic prevention measures as per Health Ministry protocol, Hanoi Redtours has asked all customers to submit health declarations before departure and install Bluezone, a Bluetooth-based app that helps determine if a person has come in contact with a Covid-19 patient.

Tran Thi Bao Thu of Fiditour, said Phu Quoc, Con Dao (in the south), Ha Giang and Sa Pa (in the north) and Da Lat (in the Central Highlands) are the most booked destinations during this holiday. Currently, her company has yet to receive any requests for tour cancelations.

Hanoitourist also reported all of its four-day tours had already been sold out.

Authorities' concerns over Covid-19 risks, however, are on the rise given the intensified outbreaks in neighboring countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Monday ordered people's committee chairmen to ensure local residents wear face masks in crowded areas, saying crowded events should be limited.

Many localities across Vietnam, including major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have canceled fireworks shows and crowded festivals to limit crowds.

Nguyen Thi Han, a bank employee in HCMC, said her family would still travel to Con Dao Island for a three-day tour as they had previously canceled travel plans due to the resurgence of Covid-19 in January.

Still, their worries persist.

"My family feels a little worried about our upcoming holiday as images of the pandemic situation in India and Cambodia are pretty severe and shocking."

Han said she plans to ask her company's permission to work from home for 14 days after returning from Con Dao to ensure safety in case she is infected with the coronavirus.

"No one can say for sure as a large number of Vietnamese would travel back home or go on tours during one of the country's biggest holidays, sparking infection concerns," she added.

Several Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Laos and Thailand have been struggling with a significant surge in community transmissions linked to new variants while India is being shaken by a coronavirus storm.

The best time to visit Con Dao is from March to September, when the ocean is quiet and the wind weak, which eases transportation. Photo by Shutterstock.

The best time to visit Con Dao Island is from March to September, when the ocean is quiet and the wind weak, which eases transportation. Photo by Shutterstock.

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