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Tourist Bookings in Saigon Drop by 50% Post-Tet Due to Covid-19

Since the Tet holiday, tourism has fallen by 50% compared to the same period last year because of fears related to the coronavirus. 

Zing reports that Saigon's Department of Tourism held a meeting on February 17 to discuss the worrying figures and open dialogues with members of the city's tourism, accommodation and travel sectors. They revealed that hotel bookings have fallen by approximately 50% compared to the same period last year, while visitors from China have fallen by 70%. Businesses have asked the government for various relief initiatives including tax reductions and exemptions and an easing of visa procedures.

The government is also making efforts to compensate for the dearth of Chinese visitors, who make up 32% of all foreign arrivals, by appealing to other markets. Earlier this week, for example, "The Visit Vietnam" office opened in London to promote tourism in the UK, and plans are in place to raise Vietnam's presence in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.  

While tourism has boomed over the past decade, growing by double digits each year, experts predict that the coronavirus will result in between US$5.9 billion and US$7.7 billion in lost tourism dollars during the next three months. The finance ministry recently predicted that the nation's gross domestic product growth will be 6.25% if the epidemic is contained within the first quarter, and 5.96% if it is contained by the second quarter. 

Vietnam is not the only country to experience a decline in hotel occupancy, flight reservations and attraction attendance due to the virus outbreak. Nearby nations including Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia are suffering similar plummets in tourism. In addition to the hit experienced by tourism, industries that rely on trade with China are affected, including farmers and fruit growers.

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