Travel Travel

20/03/2020 - 07:42

Tourists to Hue to be monitored on number and schedule

European tourists will temporarily stop entering Vietnam because of the new border restriction in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, some visitors who had entered Vietnam before the effect of the restriction will head to Hue in the coming days. The situation has questioned the local authority on how to manage the number of visitors, as well as their travel schedule.

Tourists wearing face masks when visiting Hue on 16 March

Priority is on prevention

According to the Department of Tourism, as of mid-March 2020, the number of visitors to Hue has decreased by about 50% over the same period. It is likely that in a week or two, the figure will decrease dramatically, down to only about between 10 and 20%. Domestic tourists have dropped sharply due to concerns about COVID-19. International visitors have and would come in a lesser number as some Asian countries have closed their borders and Vietnam has suspended the issue of new visas for European travelers.

According to Mr. Le Huu Minh, Acting Director of the Department of Tourism, as the new entry regulation on European visitors has just come into force, a certain number of visitors in the old continent had entered Vietnam before that. These visitors are very likely to travel to Hue. Meanwhile, European travelers are potential carriers of COVID-19. Therefore, at this time, the tourism industry is making its utmost effort to prevent the pandemic, putting stimulation measures on hold.

Leaders of Department of Tourism and Information, on 14 March, after receiving the direction of the Ministry of Health, have just requested in writing that accommodation establishments shall have their guests fill up medical declaration forms, pay close attention to those who are from, have visited or transited through the virus-hit areas, and get well informed on their travel route before and after the stay.

“For international inbound and outbound travels, tours that take travelers to or through the countries with COVID-19 via international flights or by sea or by road must be suspended from March 10 until the competent authorities announce that the pandemic has been under control,” Mr. Minh affirmed.

Domestic travel business must also halt all activities that attract tourists who are from, have visited or transited through COVID-19-hit areas as well as activities that take visitors to the localities where the virus is spreading by air, road, and rail from March 13, 2020. "Given the complicated development of the outbreak, synchronous measures must be taken; and close collaboration from the businesses is required to enforce the disease prevention ability for the tourism sector at this time," Mr. Minh said.

Many travel businesses reported that the tourism business has never been so difficult, and they would temporarily suspend operation for a while to ensure safety for themselves and tourists.

Mr. Dinh Manh Thang, Chairman of the Provincial Tourism Association informed that at present, some accommodation businesses have still received guests, but strengthening prevention measures should be on the top of the list. Their coordination with functional authorities by promptly providing the visitor information is very critical.

Good management of visitors’ schedule

Given some accommodation establishments allegedly continued hosting visitors from Europe, which is currently considered a "hot spot" of the pandemic in the world, it is required that stricter control from the authorities should be put in place. According to the tourism industry's leaders, in addition to on-the-spot prevention, it is important to know the travel schedule of each tourist to plan on tackling and isolating as soon as possible visitors who have visited the pandemic areas or have had close contact with an infected person. The number of visitors, meanwhile, will be updated daily thanks to mandatory medical declarations applied to every traveler.

Mr. Le Huu Minh said that obtaining accurate information on the number and the travel schedule of visitors is vital to enable timely response and coordination in cases of bad situations. In fact, in the past few days, this work has been carried out in a good way and order. Some tourists have been inquired to stay isolated at their hotel and some were escorted to a separate isolation area to ensure safety.

The sector is also managing well the persons who are categorized as F1 for having close contact with infected persons (F0). They are being isolated and monitored and have their issues and needs addressed. Information on people who were exposed to F1 has also been obtained since the F1’s mobility is usually complicated with connections by air, road, or rail.

Not only international visitors, but domestic visitors as well are also potential virus contractors as they might have had contact with an infected person; therefore, supervision must be enhanced at accommodation properties. On top of that, tourism workers in localities affected by the pandemic who have returned to Hue are also subjects to be put under observation right now.

For the safety of tourist groups who have arrived and made their tour in Hue, the tourism industry leader requested businesses not to take tourists to crowded places. In case someone gets sick with a fever, cough, and other potential symptoms of the disease, the business should immediately contact the local health agency, Provincial Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, and Department of Tourism so that examination, testing, and isolation could be performed following the protocols; and in no circumstances does the business take the person to the doctor or hospital.

Story and photo: Duc Quang