Although the number of tourists has decreased due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Quang Binh is still considered as one of the attractive destinations in Vietnam with Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park ranked as one of the top 15 favorite national parks in the world by TripAdvisor, or Son Doong Cave selected by CNN as one of the 10 great destinations to explore in Vietnam. With the features of tourism resources as caves are suitable for tours to discover nature with few people, Quang Binh is a destination suitable for the types of tourism that are predicted to be the trend of the future. Quang Binh is also one of the earliest localities to open domestic tourism in Vietnam after the 4th outbreak when the province planned to welcome vaccinated tourists from other localities in early October 2021. Is this the advantage of tourism in Quang Binh in the new context and what plans does the province have to gradually restore local tourism?
Destination Review had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Quy, Director of Quang Binh Department of Tourism about the status and plan to reopen tourism in the province to take advantage of tourism resources and grasp upcoming tourism trends.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Quang Binh Department of Tourism and industrial units in the province have always maintained regular and continuous connections with domestic and international tourist markets through digital platforms, along with cooperation activities among domestic units, localities, and diplomatic missions of Vietnam abroad.
To ensure safety during the pandemic, the province has focused on giving priority to vaccination for employees in tourism businesses, communities in tourism areas such as Dong Hoi city, Phong Nha – Ke Bang; established coordination regulations between tourism businesses and medical facilities, People’s Committees of communes and wards to promptly implement measures to prevent and control the Covid-19 epidemic.
At the same time, the Department of Tourism directs tourism units to focus on the domestic market, reposition target market segments as well as build and develop product packages suitable for each market meeting the tastes and safety requirements in the new context such as package tours, resort tourism products, wellness, nature experiences for small groups of tourists, etc.
As soon as the Covid-19 epidemic was under control, the Quang Binh Department of Tourism issued a plan on recovering and promoting tourism in the new context; directed the Tourism Association and tourism units in the province to deploy tourism activities in the new normal, prepared conditions to be ready to welcome tourists before October 15, and implemented marketing, promotion and sales activities to tourist markets. In addition, the Department also advised the Provincial People’s Committee to issue documents guiding tourism activities in the new normal and pilot the exploitation of the tour package “Explore Quang Binh in the new normal”. Quang Binh has officially welcomed back tourists since October 15, 2021, the total number of tourists as of December 2021 reached more than 10,000 arrivals, an increase of 124% compared to October 2021.
Given the profound impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the tourism industry in Vietnam and worldwide has suffered a serious decline and there has been a great change in tastes, products, marketing methods as well as travel demands. When reopening, Quang Binh’s tourism industry has faced many difficulties in terms of tourist sources, the willingness to reopen of authorities at all levels as well as tourism units in the province, human resources, the community’s apprehension, the implementation of procedures and standards for welcoming tourists to ensure safety in the new context.
In order to restart tourism activities, the prerequisites to do are: the local government get ready with the requirements from the mechanism, the opening policy, the safety measures & process for tourists and the community; businesses renovate facilities, prepare human resources, ensure safety measures to welcome tourists, and prevent epidemics. Besides, it is essential to have synchronous coordination between units, local authorities, and businesses in welcoming and serving tourists as well as support from local community. Tourism products and services are also needed to be prepared to attract tourists; and businesses and the tourism department need to promote them in key tourist markets.
Under the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, green tourism and nature tourism with ecotourism products, adventure tourism, adventure tourism combined with skill training called “Ed-Ventures”, and conscious tourism will grow. With the province’s potential and natural advantages, the Quang Binh Department of Tourism has carried out communication and tourism promotion activities with the message Quang Binh – a natural, safe and different destination. This message has attracted great attention from tourists in the new normal, both domestic as well as international tourists. The marketing campaign to introduce Quang Binh tourism in the new normal and tourism products adapted to harsh nature with the participation of travel bloggers such as Ngo Tran Hai An, runner-up Vu Hoang My, Tran Dang Dang Khoa, Huy Cung, “Huy hay di” have attracted nearly 2 million interactions in less than 2 months. The province’s adventure tourism products have maintained the number of tourists since opening, of which the tour Conquering Son Doong – the world’s largest cave in 2022, has sold more than 90% of tours. Phong Nha – Ke Bang was honored by AFAR (USA) as one of the world’s attractive destinations in 2022. In addition, foreign travel agencies have also worked with Quang Binh tourism units to link designing tourism products in 2022.
Quang Binh always focuses on technology adoption and cooperates with prestigious international organizations in advertising and promotion activities to ensure regular and continuous connections with tourist markets in diverse methods, attractive and rich content. In the coming time, Quang Binh Department of Tourism will coordinate with units to develop AR products, experiential spaces on digital platforms and at information points to support tourists. Simultaneously, the department will coordinate with major media agencies, film studios in the country and around the world to build reality TV programs and films in Quang Binh and bring Quang Binh’s image into activities, major events of search platforms, social networks, world-famous games. Currently, Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee has approved the policy for Oxalis Adventure Company to develop Son Doong Mix Reality tours and the Quang Binh Department of Tourism is building sets of photos and VR products about Quang Binh tourism.
From November 2021, the Quang Binh Department of Tourism has advised the Provincial People’s Committee to issue a plan to restore and increase tourist arrivals in the condition of safe, flexible adaptation, and effective control of the Covid-19 epidemic towards 2022, in order to synchronously deploy tourism development tasks and solutions in the coming time.
Quang Binh tourism industry will continue to effectively implement the ongoing safe and flexible adaptation measures, effectively control the Covid-19 epidemic, create favorable conditions to serve tourists as well as for tourists to travel. The tourism industry will regularly inspect and supervise tourism service providers, destinations to apply many measures to ensure safe and sanitary and epidemiological standards for all production activities, business, service activities of hotels, restaurants, bars, transportations.
In terms of products/services, the province’s tourism has mobilized resources to diversify tourism products, improved services quality of current tourism products, developed high-class tourism products, night tourism products, tourism associated with community benefits, agritourism, tourism related to culture and history to enhance the attractiveness of the destination, prolong the stay and spend of tourists.
Besides, in order to grasp the current tourism trend that is shifting from international tourism demand to domestic tourism demand, in the near future, the province’s tourism will continue to promote promotion and advertising activities to focus on domestic markets; coordinate with tourism businesses to develop package products, pre-designed combo for small groups or family to optimize the choice of tourists.
At the same time, the province will also promote digital transformation in data digitization, advertising, promotion and communication about destinations, supporting businesses in advertising and marketing to stay connected regularly and continuously with tourists markets and improve the attractiveness of Quang Binh in the new context.
In addition, we will prepare and apply other solutions according to the plan of the Provincial People’s Committee include: speeding up the implementation of public investment projects in tourism infrastructure, raising community awareness about tourism development, improving the quality of tourism human resources through training, and attracting high-quality human resources.
Thank you so much!