In 2020, Viet Nam’s tourism suffered extremely heavy losses due to the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic. After many years of continuous impressive growth, in 2020, for the first time, Viet Nam recorded a sharp decline in the number of domestic and international tourists due to the Covid-19 epidemic. The total number of tourists served by accommodation, food and beverage service establishments in 2020 reached 97.3 million VND, a decrease of 44% over the previous year; a number of tourists served by travel agencies was 3.7 million, down 80.1%. International arrival to Viet Nam decreased 78.7% year on year, gained only 3.8 million arrivals. The sharp decline in the number of domestic and international tourists has led to a significant decline in revenue for accommodation, food and beverage service, estimated at 61.8 trillion VND, down by 43.2 percent.

Facing the accumulated difficulties, the tourism industry has made efforts to implement many solutions to remove difficulties for businesses and workers; proposed to the Government and the Prime Minister solutions to support the recovery of business activities such as land tax, electricity prices, reduced or free sightseeing at many destinations. In addition, many businesses also promptly changed from exploiting international markets to focus on domestic tourism, thereby becoming a salvage solution in the epidemic period. The tourism industry has twice launched the stimulating tourism demand program: The first time in May 2020 with the theme “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam” and the second time in September 2020 with the theme “Viet Nam tourism – a safe and attractive destination”. These programs have received a positive response from localities, businesses and people, created a new movement trend, spread the inspiration to discover a safe and attractive destination in Viet Nam. These programs have brought practical contributions to the economic recovery process: Many domestic tourists have been experienced and explored Vietnam’s top tourist destinations and many unknown places for the first time at a fairly average cost. Entertainment facilities, shopping activities are activated; travel businesses are re-opened, thereby creating jobs for a certain number of workers… Although the revival of tourism may not be enough to boost the operation of the whole country but it can keep small businesses active and stimulate the local economy, reducing negative impacts of the epidemic on the economy until international tourism is active again.

Influenced by the Covid-19 epidemic, the accommodation, food, beverage and travel services have also been heavily affected. In January 2021, the revenue of accommodation, food, beverage services was estimated at 48.7 trillion VND, down 4.1% compared to the same period last year, of which accommodation revenue was estimated at 4.5. trillion, down 15%; travel revenue was estimated at 1.6 trillion VND, down 62.2%, of which Hanoi’s revenue decreased by 45.6%; Can Tho decreased by 50.1%; Da Nang decreased 68.2%; Ho Chi Minh city by 69.9%; Quang Nam decreased 91.3%; Khanh Hoa decreased 95%.

The Covid-19 in the world continues to be complicated, forecasts for the global tourism picture in the first months of 2021 still have not shown bright signs. The domestic market still plays a crucial role, the international tourism market needs longer time to recover even when the epidemic ends. Therefore, Viet Nam tourism has also prepared to enter the new year 2021 with determination and efforts to find a suitable direction. In 2021, the tourism industry has defined the motto ” Link, Act and Develop”, which continues to focus on restoring and developing domestic tourism. To overcome difficulties in this context as well as development orientations for the coming years, Viet Nam tourism needs to focus on a number of issues such as: Restructuring the tourist market in a sustainable and effective direction; targeting high-quality, long-stay, high-spending customers; developing new products and services, linking to diversify and improve product quality suitable to each market segment; promoting public-private cooperation, regional links between localities and destinations in tourism development cooperation; digital transformation in tourism development, especially in management, business, market research, marketing and selling tourism products.