Hundreds of cruise ships in Ha Long Bay tourist hotspot remain anchored due to lower travel demand, June 2021. Photo by VnExpress / Minh Cuong.
Authorities in Quang Ninh province, which previously reduced the price of entrance tickets to Ha Long Bay by 50%, have now decided to make it free to boost domestic tourism.
Tickets, which previously cost 250,000 VND ($ 10.86) per person, have been canceled until the end of the year.
The tourism industry in Quang Ninh, home to the UNESCO heritage site and beautiful beaches, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis with hundreds of cruise ships long anchored in the absence of visitors.
After more than a month without a new case, Quang Ninh lifted the swimming ban and reopened tourist destinations, relics, historic sites and golf courses on June 8, but still prohibits outside visitors.
According to the Ha Long Bay Board of Directors, the world-famous bay has only received 30 to 50 visitors a day for the past 10 days, and cruise ships are still not ready to resume their operations. activities due to lack of demand.
Last week, owners of 500 cruise ships petitioned the government for their support, claiming they were on the verge of bankruptcy.
The number of visitors to Quang Ninh fell 37% last year to 8.8 million as Vietnam closed its borders from March 2020 to prevent Covid.
Revenues from ticket sales in Ha Long Bay fell by 1 trillion VND ($ 43.47 million) last year and more than 5,000 tourism workers lost their jobs.
Since its recognition as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 1994, Ha Long Bay has found a place on the map of global tourism, with travel bloggers and filmmakers hailing its emerald waters and thousands of imposing limestone pillars topped with tropical forests.