Tourist numbers plummet on national holidays

By Staff reporters   May 1, 2020 | 02:08 am PT
Tourist numbers plummet on national holidays
A beach in Da Nang on April 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress.
Many popular destinations are seeing few tourists during April 30 - May 1 holidays despite the social distancing ease, with some witnessing visitor numbers drop by over 90 percent.

Tourists who do travel, mainly move around in small groups and use personal transportation.

During Reunification Day - Labor Day (April 30 - May 1) holidays, it’s estimated that about 8,000 tourists would visit Sapa, a decrease of 33 percent year-on-year, said a representative of Sa Pa's Culture and Tourism Department. Sa Pa is a popular resort town in Lao Cai Province, northern Vietnam.

Attractions in the northern province of Ninh Binh like Trang An limestone complex, Bai Dinh, Tam Coc and Bich Dong are also much less crowded than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Last year, we had to line up for the boat. This year, it’s another story," said Trung Hieu, from Hanoi.

A representative of the Tourism Department in Quang Ninh Province, home to UNESCO world heritage site Ha Long Bay in northern Vietnam, said: "People are still worried about the pandemic, so the number of tourists from remote areas and traveling by air is limited." 

On April 22, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc decided to ease social distancing restrictions and declared no city or province in the country remained in the "at high risk" category for novel coronavirus infections, except for several districts in Hanoi, Bac Ninh and Ha Giang in northern Vietnam.

Thua Thien - Hue has about 2,000 guests registered to stay from April 30 to May 3, mainly at coastal resorts such as Ana Mandara Thuan An, Laguna Lang Co and Alba Thanh Tan Hot Spring.

"Due to the pandemic impact, the amount of visitors here is low," said Nguyen Van Phuc, deputy director of the central province's Tourism Department.

Ly Son Island of Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam only welcomed a few local tourists on April 30. "Some tourist groups from other provinces will arrive on the island the next days," said Sam Dang, a homestay owner and local tour guide.

Over 110 accommodation service facilities on Ly Son have reopened, though the island is only allowed to house domestic arrivals.

Meanwhile, although Da Nang allows residents and tourists to swim, only small groups of mainly locals visited the city's beaches in late April 30 afternoon.

Ba Na Hills Resort in the central city reopened on the same day. "However, due to the pandemic, it is certain visitor numbers will drop," a representative said.

A Da Nang Tourism Department official said it is estimated the total number of tourists to Da Nang will reach 5,800 during the holidays, down 98.5 percent year-on-year. International visitors are estimated to reach 650, down 99.5 percent, and domestic equivalents 5,150, down 98 percent.

Nha Trang, on April 30 experienced way less tourist traffic than usual. The central town is still prohibiting swimming while hundreds of boats remain docked at port. Many shops specialized in serving foreign customers are also shut.

Loan's family from Ho Chi Minh City came to visit Po Nagar Tower in Nha Trang, traveled around the town, before moving on to the Central Highlands town of Da Lat in the afternoon.

"It would be better to go to the beach, but in this situation, another time will be better. I only worry that my kids will be sad," she said.

A beach at Nha Trangs center is still closed during the holidays, April 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.

A beach at Nha Trang's center is still closed during the April 30 - May 1 holidays, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc.

Ho Chi Minh City has less visitors than usual at this time of year. The Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens (Thao Cam Vien) in District 1 is still closed, while only a few visitors lined up outside the Independence Palace on April 30.

Vietnam has gone seven days with no new coronavirus infections and 15 without community transmission.

Of the country's 270 Covid-19 cases, 51 are active and the remaining 219 have been discharged from hospital. There have been 12 relapses to date.

Vietnam has banned entry for foreign nationals since March 22, except for special cases. Since March 25, international flights have been suspended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

The pandemic has spread to 210 countries and territories so far, claiming over 233,700 lives.

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