The decline in international arrivals is expected to continue in May and the following months as currently, the Covid-19 pandemic still develops complicatedly, so many countries around the world, especially the US and European countries, as well as some Asian countries, continue to carry out lockdown and border closure. This will prevent international tourism. Moreover, at present, Vietnam continues to take measures to repel the Covid-19 pandemic, though social distancing has been loosened, the country is not ready to open doors to international visitors. The number of international visitors to Vietnam will possibly increase again in May but mainly for business purposes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made the smokeless industry not only in Vietnam but also in the world suffer huge losses. To resolve difficulties for this industry, recently, the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board has proposed the Government to consider a relief package of up to VND150 trillion in the form of state-backed loans for tourism companies to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the context that the tourism industry has been heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, on April 29, the ASEAN Tourism Ministers' online conference also put forward many initiatives to resolve difficulties and restore the tourism industry in the region.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Quang Tung said that the average room occupancy in the first quarter was only about 20 percent, in April it was below 10 percent. Tourism industry workers have been entitled to unpaid leave or a salary reduction of up to 80 percent. The revenue of tour operators has been continuously falling, almost to zero in April.
Accordingly, Deputy Minister Le Quang Tung also proposed member countries in the ASEAN to coordinate and deploy some specific measures and actions such as sharing experiences in the process of coping with difficulties and restoring the tourism industry; strengthening the intra-regional coordination in advertising activities and promoting intra-regional tourism after the pandemic is under control.
The conference has adopted the joint declaration of the ASEAN's tourism ministers on promoting cooperation to restore tourism in the ASEAN. It highlighted some contents, such as promoting the ASEAN's cooperation in exchanging tourism-related information on health and other necessary measures taken by member countries in the ASEAN to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, through strengthening the operation of the ASEAN Tourism Crisis Communications Team (ATCCT), to provide timely and reliable information to tourists and inbound and outbound travel companies in the region.
At the same time, it is to promote tighter cooperation in sharing information and exchanging best practices of ASEAN's member countries. Member countries implement transparent policies and measures to strengthen the confidence of domestic and international tourists to Southeast Asia, including building clear standards and guidelines for a safer and healthier working environment to protect employees and communities in the hospitality and tourism industry, destinations, and tourism facilities in ASEAN member countries. Members in the region strive to promote common tourism promotion campaigns to develop ASEAN as a common destination.