Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam. (Photo: VNA)

Dam made the request during a meeting with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism; Ministry of Transport; Ministry of Finance; Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) and several travel firms in Hanoi on June 3rd to help the tourism industry weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnam has more than 40,000 businesses and about 4.5 million people working in the tourism industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Many small-size tourism enterprises have been put under great pressure by the outbreak so the government must find ways to re-energize them, he said.

Dam noted that though small firms like community-based tourism and homestay service providers are not large contributors to the State budget, they have played a crucial part in reducing poverty and improving living standards in remote and disadvantaged areas.

The Deputy PM asked the relevant ministries, agencies and local administrations to slash fees for hospitality firms fairly to help them overcome difficulties.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism were tasked to coordinate with local administrations and the VITA to boost domestic travel demand and advertise destinations in the Northwestern, Northeastern and central coastal regions so businesses would not have to do it all by themselves.

He also suggested to the stakeholders organize more virtual international travel promotion events and develop tourism programs to promote Vietnam as a safe destination amid COVID-19.

According to the VITA, international tourist arrivals to Vietnam in the first five months of this year totaled 3.7 million while the number of domestic holidaymakers stood at 16 million, down 50 percent and 58.5 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.

Revenue from tourism plunged over 47 percent to VND150.3 trillion (USD6.47 billion)./.

CPV/VNA