HCMC expands tourist offerings amid visitor boom

09:50 | 03/11/2017 Society

(VEN) - In the first nine months of 2017, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) welcomed about 19 million domestic visitors and more than 4.2 million foreign tourists. Revenues amounted to an estimated VND84.57 trillion, up 10 percent from the same time in 2016 and accounting for 71.67 percent of the yearly plan (VND116 trillion). Tourism contributed 10 percent to the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) during the same period. 

hcmc expands tourist offerings amid visitor boom
Ho Chi Minh City recently launched seven new river tours, connecting many tourist points in the city with neighboring provinces

Festivals and festivities

Vietnam’s largest city held many tourism events this year, including the Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) Festival, a ceremony to welcome the first foreign visitors to the city on the first day of the lunar New Year, and the Southern Food Festival, among others. From now until the end of the year, additional events are planned, among them the Nghinh Ong Can Gio Festival and an international marathon. The goal is to promote tourism and create more jobs, contributing to the city’s economic growth.

Tourism is also being promoted through other programs, such as a free walking tour entitled “the Pearl of the Far East” that will bring visitors to famous venues, including Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral and the city’s Post Office. The southern economic hub will also open a new pedestrian-only book street on Nguyen Dong Chi Street in District 7 in October, offering a series of activities promoting reading culture. This will be the second pedestrian book street in Ho Chi Minh City together with Nguyen Van Binh Street in District 1.

New river tours

On September 28, the city launched seven new river tours on the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers, and put into operation five new, modern 25-seat speedboats to strengthen tourist connectivity with neighboring provinces. The tours will depart daily from Tan Cang Wharf and offer seven destinations including Cu Chi Tunnels, Can Gio, Vam Sat Tourism Center, orchards in Long Phuoc, Thanh Da Peninsula, Ben Dinh and Hai Thanh Koi fish Eco-Tourism Site.

Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said the new tours and tourist routes are expected to promote the city’s tourism development by making full use of its advantages and potential. Saigontourist General Director, Tran Hung Viet, said the local tourism industry can generate hundreds of millions of US dollars in revenue annually, and will be able to do so if it properly exploits its competitive advantages, especially those related to river routes.

Ho Chi Minh City is expecting tourism revenues of an estimated VND120 trillion in 2017, 16.5 percent higher than 2016, exceeding its VND116 trillion target. Tourism will become one of the city’s three spearhead economic sectors, with annual growth of 15-16 percent and revenues of VND165-170 trillion, and contribute more than 11 percent to the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

Thanh Thanh