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The Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) of Vietnam have submitted its recommendations for industry and government actions to cope with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Accordingly visitors from the most resilient markets such as the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada may soon be able to enjoy visa exemption up to 30 days with unlimited returns and could first be for a period of 12 months.
There should also be a reliable source of information for people planning to visit Vietnam on what the current regulations are regarding health checks on arrival and quarantine requirements, among others. Such a website should be set up and kept updated in English and Vietnamese at least.
TAB also recommended compiling a set of best practices to be implemented by hotels, airlines, airports, and train and bus stations to protect staff and guests during the peak of the outbreak.
|Visa exemptions, transparent information disclosure, and a set of best practices to be implemented by hotels, airlines, airports, and train and bus stations are among the urgent solutions to cope with COVID-19. Photo: Le Toan|
Additionally, TAB proposed immediate reductions in VAT for tourism-related business from 10 to 5 per cent and extending the tax payment period from 6 to 12 months, without penalty. This payment extension could be applied for VAT payments from the fourth quarter of 2019 and income tax payments for the 2019 financial year.
It would also recommend a series of support measures for companies operating in the sector.
TAB welcomed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)issuing a directive to support businesses affected by COVID-19, urging several banks to lower interest rates on loans to affected business and loan payment moratoriums. However, it strongly advised against subsidies and emergency loans to large corporations as it would bring distorted and unfair treatment in the market.
It further recommended concerted efforts by the SBV, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in developing financial support measures.
Other measures that could be considered, such as waiving social and health insurance contributions for companies and the accrual of personal income tax and corporate income tax payments until the virus is over. It suggest a reduction of land use fees to 50 per cent for all hotels, resorts, and theme parks for the 2020 and 2021 financial year.
In addition, it advised government agencies to reduce unnecessary inspections of businesses in the sector. These inspections take lots of time and resources from the already fragile businesses.
The board also recommended accelerating the disbursement of the national tourism fund for the marketing and promotion action plan through the VNAT and TAB Marketing Group’s platform (Vietnam.travel and Visit Vietnam Offices). It also proposed the tourism fund to immediately implement the earlier recommendations of TAB.
TAB also highlighted that the country needs to speed up the construction of Long Thanh International Airport, upgrade Tan San Nhat, Phu Bai, and Dong Hoi airports, build the new Chu Lai Airport and push for the expansion of Hanoi Airport. Vietnam also needs to complete the Saigon-Can Tho Highway and several sectors of the North-South Highway.
Furthermore, licensing procedures need to be eased and sped up for important businesses of the industry such as airlines, airports, and general aviation businesses.
TAB also encouraged provincial governments of key destinations to increase and maintain high sanitation standards, hygiene, and discourage discriminative behaviouramongst the local people with visitors and avoid the discrimination of any group of people by all means. This should continue even after the outbreak is fully contained.