Vietnam tourism weathers effects of corona virus outbreak

Published on : Friday, February 28, 2020

Flying in Southeast Asia has now become a rather frightening experience! The sound of someone coughing or sneezing on a plane causes wide-eyed reactions from mask-wearing passengers.


Since the outbreak of the novel corona virus, masks are ubiquitous in airports, worn by just about everyone. Hand sanitizer is present everywhere. At airport counters and in hotel lobbies, it’s a good idea to clean your hands in a good way.


Vietnam has so far been spared the brunt of corona virus cases. As of February 26, there are only 16 cases of contracting the disease in a country with a population of 95 million. Schools and universities are closed until next month, and in towns and villages, kids are enjoying an extended vacation. Factories and businesses are also closed or are operating with reduced staffing.


More than the fears of a widespread corona virus outbreak, it’s the economic impact that’s worrying people in Vietnam. Vietnam partially shut down its border with China weeks ago, protecting itself from people potentially exposed to the virus; however, this has also minimized trade to its largest export market. Farmers have piles of watermelons and vegetables, but no place to sell them.


In the former imperial city of Hue, multiple restaurants have put up signs banning Chinese customers from entering, with many hotel bookings down by around 80 percent.


Just down the coast in Hoi An, a city famous for its beautiful beaches, new resorts stand empty. When visitors check into a hotel, staffs there take your temperature with a digital thermometer, and employees are required to wear masks.


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