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Status of tourism in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City has great potentials to develop tourism, but it still cannot attract as many tourists as expected due to the monotonous tourism products.

HCM City keeps leading the country in the number of tourists it attracts with 3 million domestic and foreign tourists coming to the city in the first 11 months of the year. The figure represents the 8.4 percent increase in comparison with the same period of the last year, fulfilling 88 percent of the yearly plan.

The tourism industry brought to the city 44,300 billion dong in revenue in the first 11 months of the year, up by 21 percent over the same period of the last year.

However, experts still believe that HCM City still can attract more tourists if it does more things.

Waterway tourism products remain monotonous

HCM City has a dense system of rivers and canals; therefore, it is understandable why the city’s localities try to develop waterways tourism. Tourists can travel on boats along the rivers to enjoy the natural landscapes with green trees, the mangrove ecosystems (Can Gio forest), orchard ecosystem (Binh Duong province.

However, the waterways tourism is now just in the first stage of development. There are not many interesting places for travelers to stay in their itineraries, a representative of a travel firm noted.

HCM City’s authorities continuously sent its officials to fact-finding trips to consider the possibility of opening new tours, in an effort to develop the waterways tourism. However, no big leap has been made by the city so far. To date, only some short-distance tours have been put into exploitation, including the one from Bach Dang station to the Nha Be T-junction and the painters’ village.

Director of a travel firm said that the biggest problem that hinders the development of waterways tourism is the bad infrastructure. HCM City has rivers and canals, but it lacks docks and stops. As a result, tourists have to float on the river during their itineraries, admire the landscapes, have meals and then… return to the destination points.

Overland tourists have nowhere to go

Nguyen Duc Chi, Deputy Head of the Travel Division of the HCM City Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the department is reviewing the efficiency of waterways tours so as to report to the city’s authorities.

He also said that the department is cooperating with art performance units to build up performance programs to serve tourists, including “Hon Viet” (Vietnamese soul) program, “Xin chao” (Hello) circus, and the shows of the Bong Se Theatre and the HCM City Conservatory.

However, travel firms say these are the “plans of the future”. Meanwhile, they do not know where to lead travelers to in the city. Some famous tourism sites such as the museum, the city’s post office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Cu Chi Tunnels have been exploited in the last many years, which have become too familiar to many travelers.

Meanwhile, there are very few original products to be introduced to travelers. They do not know where to go if they want to learn about the folk arts with typical characteristics of Saigonese.

Even southern local residents also complain that they cannot find any information about the tours to discover HCM City. In fact, very few Vietnam travel agencies provide the tours specifically designed for the travelers who only want to learn about HCM City. Meanwhile, the tours designed by the firms are nearly similar with too familiar destination points.

Minh Van, who lives in Bien Hoa City of Dong Nai province, said that she really wants to go to HCM City to visit the Thu Thiem tunnel, the biggest one in South East Asia.

“However, I still do not know where I will go to after visiting the tunnel. I visited the Cu Chi tunnels, the city’s Theatre or the Notre Dame Cathedral many times,” she said.

Vietnam Travel Company, Vietnam Travel Agency




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