Each time the Vietnamese government announced tourism resumption, flight accessibility, and vaccine travel lanes, many hotels and resorts in Central Vietnam would get several inquiries from interested foreign travelers. But the constantly changing entry policies have deterred those inquiries from becoming actual bookings.
But it’s different this time, said Debbie Chee, the marketing director at Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai. A luxury resort located in the culturally rich central region, The Nam Hai was a travelers’ favorite pre-pandemic, rated “excellent” by most reviewers on TripAdvisor. Now that the country has officially allowed entry of international tourists, the resort is now finally recording actual and confirmed check-in dates.
“We were relieved and thrilled at the same time with the simplified and hassle-free travel protocols for tourists to visit the country,” added Debbie. “This great news has been greatly encouraging for tourism recovery.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the inbound tourism industry, including the hospitality sector that relies on the influx of foreign guests. Accommodations in Central Vietnam, which bank on the region’s well-preserved historical sites, breathtaking natural beauty, and delectable cuisine, used to welcome millions of foreigners every year. During the two-year entry ban in Vietnam, some properties were forced to shut operations permanently, some laid off staff to lift financial burdens, some made significant changes to their business operations.
For TIA Wellness Resort, which had to close its property several times in the last two years because of the evolving situation, the pandemic allowed the resort to go on full refurbishment and rebranding. As a response to the growing demand for wellness-focused retreats, TIA shifted its priority from offering a place for mere relaxation to curating experiences centered around health and mindfulness.
“We have a very attractive promotion for our guests and have taken the last two years to further deepen our wellness offerings to enhance our guests' experience with new wellness therapies, healthy menus, and workshops,” said Ramon Andreas Imper, general manager of TIA Wellness Resort. Come April, the resort will be welcoming travelers from Germany and the United Kingdom — its first foreign guests in a long time.
‘Welcome back’ travel packages
Like Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai and TIA Wellness Resort, award-winning resort InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is also now getting ready to receive foreign guests. General manager Seif Hamdy revealed that there is quite a fair amount of interest from South Korean and Singaporean guests. The resort is expecting its “first guest” to come by the end of April.
To draw tourists in, the InterContinental Danang team is focusing on building “great packages and exclusive experiences” for guests to have memorable moments at the resort.
“We are currently running a very special deal, the “Welcome Back” package. The package rate starts from USD 537/net per room night for two adults including accommodation for a minimum two-night stay, nightly USD 200 credit towards any outlet including La Maison 1888, Citron, Barefoot, Long Bar; in-room Dining, the Spa plus return airport transportation,” said Seif.
To keep the excitement high, the resort also refreshed its landscape and gardens, built a new Club Lounge, and renovated its cable car system for a smoother ride from the highest point of the resort to the beach area.
Debbie, from Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, also shared that the property is offering promotional packages with foresight on post-pandemic travel trends. It has also maintained its pricing with contracted partners to encourage the fast return of tourists.
“Four Seasons is known to immerse our guests into the local culture. During the pandemic, our team has developed new signature programs according to global travel trends to provide our guests with new experiences leveraging on all Four Seasons channels,” said Debbie.
While it’s an “undeniably exciting time for everyone in the tourism industry,” Ramon admitted that it will take months, if not years, to achieve the same numbers of guests pre-pandemic. Many of Vietnam’s main tourism markets like China and Japan remain relatively closed off. As travel trends and guest demands continue to evolve, Ramon said the resort will have to wait and see before taking further actions.
For now, TIA will keep its original room rates and domestic promotions for the summer season. “For the international market, we have a very attractive promotion to launch inbound tourism again.”
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, on the other hand, believes that the “encouraging” new travel policies announced by the Vietnamese government — no quarantine, no test on arrival, no vaccination certificates — will help tourism recovery gradually pick up from April. The tourism industry, in general, can anticipate a steadier flow of travelers from the 4th quarter of 2022 onwards.