Saigon Investment spoke with Mr. Nguyen Sy Khanh, Chairman of the People's Committee of Nha Trang City, and asked his opinion on the various ways the city was planning to attract tourists back, and the measures taken for pandemic prevention.
JOURNALIST: - Sir, how is Nha Trang City preparing to welcome back tourists?
Mr. NGUYEN SY KHANH: - First of all, I must say that the strategy for attracting tourists to Nha Trang city is an overall strategy that will cover all of Khanh Hoa province. Nha Trang City in particular, has experienced measures for disease control during the last peak and severe outbreak. The City has developed strong procedures for periodic disease screening within the community.
We also have detailed plans to handle crisis situations in case the disease re-emerges suddenly, so we will be able to avoid a passive and extreme situation. From the previous months’ experience, Nha Trang City in particular and Khanh Hoa province in general, have learnt lessons for future dire situations in preventing and fighting against the pandemic.
The next point I want to emphasize is that Nha Trang City will resolutely handle problems that are pressing and inconvenient for tourists. Nha Trang City now has many hotlines, in wards as well as communes in the city, and as long as visitors follow these procedures, we are committed to responding to them quickly and promptly. Issues related to security and order have also been enhanced and afford guarantee against harassing and unfortunate incidents from occurring. Another very important fact is that Nha Trang City respects and appreciates the contribution of visitors, in order to continue to strengthen and maintain its own brand as a beautiful and safe destination.
- Sir, the tourism industry has been deeply affected after so many months of lockdown, and tourist cities like Nha Trang have also been hit hard. In your opinion, what will be the challenges ahead in the recovery process?
- In order to revive the tourism industry once again, it is necessary to lay a sustainable foundation. However, in my opinion, in addition to the support from the government and businesses, the support of the local people is also extremely important. Every citizen of Nha Trang City and Khanh Hoa province must act as a tourism ambassador. This is why Nha Trang City has now covered most of its population with the first dose of vaccine, with the rate of coverage being almost 100% for those over 18 years of age, and about 40% population has also received its second dose as well. This ensures the safety for locals and tourists alike.
On the other hand, we also actively propagate to the people to understand the safe measures to adopt against the pandemic. When people, businesses, and authorities agree to be on the same page, there will be strong coordination in the same way that Khanh Hoa province was able to control and fight the pandemic.
After many years’ experience in managing Nha Trang City in different positions, I also share the pain of the damage encountered in the past two years by businesses in the tourism industry. I think the challenge will generally lie in the fact that everyone will have to accept the current situation and find a way to adapt to ways to keep everyone safe from the pandemic. This may require a shift in pattern from earlier routines of way of life. For instance, when traveling, visitors may have to spend more time to follow disease prevention criteria, that may sometimes cause delays and discomfort. However, if businesses can find ways to compensate visitors later, these inconveniences will quickly be dispelled.
I also advised ward and commune officials that even though the pandemic has been brought under control, they still have to maintain the same service quality as during the pandemic. This is to say, they must remain dedicated and do their best to work with businesses for the sake of economic recovery.
Of course, these things need a specific action plan, and frequent monitoring, not simply discussing a few times. The welfare of the local people is also very important, and right from the beginning of the pandemic, Khanh Hoa province has implemented programs to support everyone, regardless of locality or nationality, if they are living in the province.
- Sir, recently, there have been some bad reports in newspapers regarding some grassroots officials in Nha Trang City. What did you do to handle these incidents and salvage the good image of Nha Trang City?
- During the pandemic, the workload was too heavy for all working within the system, even more than double the usual. People put in their best, but they were also under high stress and faced extreme exhaustion, hence such unfortunate incidents and anger outbursts were but natural. The view of the whole Khanh Hoa province is to strictly handle the behavior of officials and clear conflicts immediately. In reality, the conflicts that occurred were varied and need to be resolved, as all officials, especially grassroots officials, need to be calm and wise, and I have already given a lot of advice on this matter.
During the pandemic, the hotline on Nha Trang City, and even on my own phone, received a lot of positive comments from people, not only from locals in Nha Trang but also intellectuals and entrepreneurs outside of Nha Trang, and some living and working in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi as well. There were acquaintances who called me to report problematic situations, and I told them to just report in the area and the matter would definitely be solved, as reality has proven.
Many benefactors from afar have supported the pandemic prevention and control activities in Nha Trang, both morally and materialistically. Incidents cannot be completely avoided, but the key here, in my opinion, is the spirit of seeking, daring to listen, and officials willing to listen to people's opinions, even to harsh criticism. This way problems can be exposed and corrected immediately.
- Thank you very much.