Tourist slump sees Saigon hotels reduce room rates for quarantined

By Hoang Phong   July 19, 2021 | 11:00 pm PT
Tourist slump sees Saigon hotels reduce room rates for quarantined
Medical staff arrive at a hotel in HCMC. Photo courtesy of Saigontourist Group.
As HCMC grapples with its most devastating Covid outbreak, many hotels have accommodated frontline workers for free while reducing quarantine room rates.

Nearly 100 hotels have been offering quarantined people suffering financial difficulties discounts from 30 to 70 percent as a way to join hands with city authorities in fighting the new outbreak, the municipal Department of Tourism stated.

Due to rapid and widespread infection, centralized quarantine facilities have been overloaded, with many forced to transfer to paid quarantine facilities, though without being able to afford the expensive fees.

The Health Ministry last week cut the centralized quarantine period by seven days to 14 after consulting with international organizations. Vietnam had increased the quarantine period to 21 days on May 5 as a strengthened safety precaution following a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Three- to five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City chosen as paid quarantine facilities are offering rooms at VND1.2-5 million ($50-200) a night.

In addition, 20 other hotels in HCMC have been offering frontline medical workers with 50,000 free overnight stays and free meals. Leading tour operator Saigontourist, which runs a series of luxury hotels in the city, has pledged to provide 6,150 overnight stays plus three meals a day for medical staff of Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital, HCMC University Medical Center, and the Can Gio field hospital.

Six hotels are committed to providing free accommodation and meals for 650 doctors of hospitals designated for Covid treatment for at least a month. Eleven other, have been used as free quarantine facilities for medical professionals.

Some travel firms, badly hurt by the Covid crisis, have volunteered to supply hundreds of tourist buses to help transport medical staff and carry Covid patients and those in close contact with them to quarantine facilities and hospitals amid the shortage of ambulances.

The hospitality industry has been devastated by the lack of tourists, with three- to five-star hotels reporting a 70 percent fall in revenues and some even temporarily closing down in the first half of this year, the tourism department revealed.

The city received 7.1 million domestic tourists in the first five months this year, down 47 percent from 2019, and earned revenues of VND35.5 trillion ($1.54 billion), down 37 percent.

HCMC is now the epicenter of the ongoing wave that hit the country in late April. The southern metropolis has recorded the highest number of infections at 35,984 in an outbreak health authorities say shows no signs of slowing.

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