Vietnamese tourism was the hardest hit economic sector. According to the Vietnam Tourism Association, the sector lost 23 billion USD in revenue, received about 3 million foreign visitors, down 80%, and only 50 million domestic tourists, down 50%. 90% of the sector’s employees were let go or temporarily laid off. 60% of tour operators and travel companies ceased operations. Many hotels closed. Room occupancy rates of accommodation establishments in big cities and tourist areas fell to 10 or 15%.
|Many Vietnamese businesses have to change its production processes and product structure in line with the new circumstances.
Vietnamese tourism companies have turned to the domestic market.
Le Anh Dai, Deputy Chairman of the Lao Cai provincial Tourism Association, said, “Domestic tourists are teaching us to adapt and be creative in turning out new products. The industry’s slow down during the pandemic has been a useful incentive to take stock and become more united in order to meet the crisis together.”
Nguyen Kim Oanh, Director of the Bình Anh Hotel, said that, with her business’s turnover falling 70 to 80% last year, it was time to implement a new strategy to attract domestic visitors.
“Our strategy has been to invite domestic tourists to come and experience our services for free. They will then spread the word to other customers. We have had some success in attracting local tourists so far,” said Kim Oanh.
Vietnamese exporters have also faced difficulties. Garment and textile companies have suffered the greatest losses, with total export turnover down 15 to 20% reaching 600 billion USD last year.
Than Duc Viet, Director General of the Garment 10 Corporation (Garco 10), said his company has changed its production processes and product structure and focused more on the domestic market.
Viet recalled, “Last year we opened 5 new shops in the Garco 10 chain. We didn’t see much growth, but didn’t suffer any decline from the epidemic. Our gross domestic sales didn’t decline. This year we are targeting growth of 20% to 30%.”
Nguyen Thi Bao Hien, Chairwoman and Director General of the Hien Le Group, which specializes in farm produce, said that this year the Group plans to build a new factory and expand production and exports.
She added, “In 2021 we are considering the construction of a plant with a capacity 7 times that of the current plant. Hopefully by the end of next year we will have a new plant and new products.”
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said 2020 was a turbulent year but also a year when the business community became more focused on resilience and sustainable development.
“What the business community wants most now is for the Government to work with other nations to control the epidemic. This is very important to help businesses choose a direction for 2021 and beyond. For enterprises to grow sustainably, they need an appropriate ecosystem and stable, transparent policies,” said Loc.
To stand firm in 2021 and in the future, businesses need to redefine themselves and improve their products. Digital transformation and creativity in business, along with increasing investment in technology and creating new supply chains, will be the key to development.