Covid-19 pandemic has completely frozen the tourism industry due to extreme measures instructed by many nations to stop the spread of this pandemic. Nevertheless, Vietnam has generally been able to control Covid-19 and has no new cases. As a result, tourism is putting forward solutions as well as seeking opportunities to recover after the pandemic.
Covid-19 is a challenge but also a chance for tourism to come back prosperously. Two potentials for Vietnamese tourism after the pandemic are: focusing on domestic tourism and preparing to welcome foreign tourists, which include developing OPI (over-the-phone interpretation) services utilized in a wide range of countries.
Impact of Covid-19 on Vietnamese tourism
Vietnam is considered one of the textbook examples in fighting and preventing Covid-19. Phrases like “exceptional success story”, “the spotlight of pandemic prevention”, “extraordinary results”, “the pioneer in fighting coronavirus”, “Vietnamese miracle”, etc. are kind compliments given to Vietnam. Despite those achievements worthy of pride, Vietnam’s economy in general and its tourism in particular still suffered greatly from the pandemic.
According to the General Office of Statistics, the number of international visitors to Vietnam in March, 2020 was only 450,000, decreasing by 68.1% compared to the same period last year and by 63.8% compared to February. It is also important to notice that the two biggest markets of Vietnamese tourism, China and Korea, both experienced a decline of 91.5% and 91.4%, respectively. The total number of visitors in the first quarter of 2020 stood at 3.7 million, witnessing a drop of 18% in comparison with that in the same period last year.
The sliding trend of tourists because of the pandemic has an adverse influence on the revenue of tourism-related services in the first quarter of 2020. The General Office of Statistics reported that the turnover from accommodation, food services is expected to hit 126,200 billion Vietnam dong, accounting for 10% total revenue from commercial activities and services, which is a 9.6% decrease against that of 2019’s first quarter.
It can be noticed that Covid-19’s negative effects on Vietnamese tourism is severe and requires a long time to recover. However, being well placed to face the hardship, Vietnam always finds the ways even in these difficult times. Covid-19 is without a doubt an obstacle but also a valuable opportunity for tourism to grow more strongly.
An opportunity to concentrate on developing domestic tourism
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought along a lesson: Vietnamese tourism cannot be totally dependent on two main markets, China and Korea. If Vietnam wishes to develop sustainably, national tourism should be the point of focus. The pandemic’s complicated development stops Vietnamese people from travelling abroad. This is a “golden time” to stimulate domestic travelling demand.
In order to achieve that goal, there should be a comprehensive solution, regarding organizing to stimulate travelling demand, connecting service providers to create all-in tours with competitive prices for Vietnamese tourists. In addition, it is necessary to invest in new domestic tours, ecotourism and environment-friendly tours.
Travelling companies need to reach a consensus on linking the airlines, transportation, hotels, restaurants, etc. to offer tours to boost travelling demand and help tourism recover quickly after this period of crisis.
Local authorities need to consider investing more in digital solutions to promote travelling, instead of obsolete advertising methods, such as roadshow, fair, etc., which are no longer fit for recent market trends and hard to measure their effectiveness.
An opportunity to catch worldwide tourism trends
Researches show global tourism will recover though slowly, from June to the end of this year or only start in the end of this year if the pandemic prolongs to the third quarter. It is predicted that international tourism requires at least a year to fully recover. This highly depends on upcoming development of the pandemic, the nations’ capability to control it, as well as the time it is officially over around the globe.
Vietnam cannot welcome foreign visitors immediately, yet this is a good time for us to look into our tourism to identify our weaknesses and shortcomings in comparison with international tourism. That is to renew the whole industry, thus surprising and satisfying tourists as they come back to Vietnam after Covid-19. One of the trends that Vietnamese tourism needs to catch is over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) for travel and tourism.
OPI’s remarkable advantages are: no geographical barrier, 24/7, lower cost compared to on-site interpreters and high flexibility. When used in travel and tourism, this service can be even more beneficial.
OPI - new trend that Vietnamese tourism need to catch
1. Using OPI right after Covid-19 pandemic
First, we need to think about tourists’ choices after Covid-19 pandemic. According to Outbox Consulting, a start-up in comprehensive management solution research and consultancy for ecotourism, three prioritized criteria are: Health and safety, short trips to nearby destinations, reasonable price.
Factors relating to safety or information regarding healthcare and ability to support medically will be one of the most important criteria when tourists choose their destination, especially after the pandemic. Using OPI services helps hotels, restaurants provide customers with the best assistance in case they have concerns about health. Vietranslate’s interpreters are experienced not only in tourism but also in medical field, since our clients include a wide range of international hospitals. This is a huge plus point when tourists encounter health problems. Moreover, health-related issues often take place unexpectedly, so there is not always an on-site interpreter available to assist with communication at that time. In contrast, with OPI, we are glad to provide the service 24/7/365 wherever you are.
Additionally, tourists also tend to choose destinations with all-in packages with attractive offers to relax after an intense period of time on budget. Tourists’ less spending equals businesses’ less revenue, as a result, cost optimization solutions are needed. With OPI, you can put your mind at ease. Unlike traditional on-site interpreting services, which still charge you on the basis of per half a day or per day when in fact, you only need an interpreter for 30 - 60 minutes. You can have more choices with us, as we have various cost calculation methods depending on your demands (on the basis of minute/hours/half a day/day).
2. Using OPI to reach international market
Existing language barriers will cost you customer’s satisfaction because you will not be able to well serve customers who do not speak your language. Just take a minute and imagine being a non-native customer to experience your service. By using OPI services, the task of handling a non-native customer will be easier. When customers call in to book a trip, and your receptionist cannot speak their language, he/she can get an over-the-phone interpreter to assist the conversation and allow the customers to ask any questions.
A hotel equipped with OPI service will guarantee a great experience for non-native customers, which is the goal of most hotels. Receptionists can call a language service provider and help customers book a room with the help from a skilful interpreter without any difficulties. Similarly, when a representative of a car rental company, for instance, cannot speak the client’s language, important information such as date, time and location can be noted incorrectly. Having an interpreter over the phone will clarify the mentioned information and make sure the client can get to the location they want.
Providing multi-language service for customers can create more chances and attract more loyal customers in travel and tourism. Instead of struggling to communicate with a potential client non-native customer, tourism companies can put their hope in over-the-phone interpreters and focus on providing services to please the customers.
We have just analyzed the opportunities Vietnamese tourism need to catch to rise strongly after Covid-19 pandemic. Tourism is the type of industry that always needs refreshing itself to meet the customers’ demands and Vietranslate is proud to contribute to that process. If you need more information regarding over-the-phone interpreting service, please contact us via +84 (0) 901 939 779.