17:00 | 14/04/2017 Society
(VEN) - The number of foreign visitors to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has increased an average 8.2 percent per year in recent years, accounting for 56.6 percent of the country’s total, according to official data. The city’s tourism revenue grew an average 16.4 percent per annum, representing 39 percent of the country’s total, contributing nine percent to the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth.
Ho Chi Minh City needs to diversify tourist offerings to attract more visitors
In 2016, the city welcomed 5.2 million foreign visitors and 21.8 million domestic visitors, earning revenues of VND103 trillion, growing more than nine percent over 2015 and making an 11 percent contribution to the city’s GRDP. In the first two months of 2017, the city attracted 524,687 foreign visitors, earning revenue of VND8.95 trillion, up 15 percent and 20 percent from the same time in 2016, respectively.
But while Ho Chi Minh City has set a goal of turning tourism into a spearhead economic sector, tourism contribution to its GRDP remains disproportionate with the potential. Experts point out that although the city is a major tourist draw, it is still less competitive than other localities in the region, and unique tourist offerings need to be created to exploit its potential.
The city is seeking to improve service quality for tourism in order to make it account for 11 percent or more of its GRDP. It has set an annual growth target of 8-9 percent and 6-7 percent in the numbers of foreign and domestic visitors, and revenue growth of more than 60 percent - to VND165-170 trillion - by 2020.
According to Vo Anh Tai, deputy general director of Saigontourist, the city should build an overall plan and strategy, mobilize resources and strengthen cooperation among relevant authorities and businesses for tourism development.
Travel businesses have suggested that the city hold more entertainment, cultural, sports and other events on a regular basis and a large scale, and develop river and eco-tours to attract more domestic and foreign visitors.
Travel businesses say the city should develop transport infrastructure, including highways, to shorten travel time from one tourist attraction to another, and increase visa exemptions for foreign visitors. It is important for the city to minimize counterfeit and substandard goods, increase visitor convenience, and improve its image as an attractive and safe destination for visitors.