The workshop was organized by Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) and supported by Asian Development Bank (ADB) on March 30, 2021.
Attending the workshop, Mr. Jens Thraenhart (Excusive Director of MTCO) and Mr. Steven Schipani (Senior of Asian Development Bank) highly appreciated Vietnam’s successes in prevention of COVID-19 pandemic and said it is good condition to gradually recover Vietnam tourism, contributing to the recovery of Greater Mekong Subregion tourism. GMS tourism needs to communicate about a safe and attractive region, inviting international visitors to return when the pandemic is controlled.
Speaking at the workshop, Vice Chairman Ha Van Sieu appreciated the practical initiative of the ADB and MTCO to organize virtual workshop on Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications Plan in the context that the COVID-19 vaccine has been successfully developed, International Air Transport Association and some carriers have been piloting use of IATA Travel Pass and regional countries are endeavouring to resume international tourism.
Vice Chairman delighted to inform that Viet Nam has started injecting COVID-19 vaccine. At this moment, priority groups are front-line people who directly work for prevention of COVID-19 pandemic. People working in tourism industry are also on the list of priority when there is a sufficient quantity of imported vaccines. On March 23, 2021, the Vietnamese Prime Minister instructed that the transportation and tourism sectors in coordination with health sector should consider the re-opening of international flight routes and application of “vaccine passport”. Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has worked with the Vietnam Tourism Association and some provincial governments to develop a pilot plan for re-opening of international tourism in the new situation.
It can be said that the prospect of tourism recovery is brightening. To overcome this pandemic, no single country could act alone. GMS countries should work together, have joint actions and efforts for mutual objectives. While GMS countries are preparing to resume international tourism, a proper communication plan is needed in order to consolidate visitors’ confidence in safe travel.
At the workshop, MTCO experts presented about the draft of Mekong Tourism Recovery Communications Plan. Accordingly, the plan aims to guide dissemination of accurate and engaging information to support a sustainable GMS tourism recovery.
The key messages will be that GMS has managed COVID-19 relatively well and invites travellers from all over the world to visit the region; GMS countries care for the health of visitors by having safety measures inplace; GMS offers a large variety of authentic experiences, including family beach holidays, pristine nature, city trips with friends, couples retreats, gourmet dining and immersive responsible tourism destinations.
The plan outlines target groups, target markets and communication channels, specially on digital platforms including MTCO/Destination Mekong Toolbox, NTO website, NTO partners…
MTCO experts also proposed timeline of each phase in 2021 and 2022.
Discussing about plan and related issues, Vice Chairman Ha Van Sieu informed that VNAT is building international tourism reopening plan. This is a vital issue, it is hence necessary to study very carefully and will be deployed step by step to ensure safety, including choosing source markets, flight modes, selecting suitable destinations/products and qualified tourism service suppliers.