HCM City targets tourism revenue of $5.3bil
The tourism sector of HCMC is focusing on developing new products to achieve revenue of VND120 trillion (nearly US$5.3 billion) this year, an increase of 16.5% over 2016 and well above the earlier-set goal of VND116 trillion.
Tourists join a river tour in Can Gio District, HCMC
The city’s tourism sector looks to attract six million international visitors, up 15.39% from last year.
The target for domestic tourists is 25 million, a rise of nearly 15%, but the city will strive to reach 30 million, a surge of 37.6% against 2016, said Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the HCMC Department of Tourism.
There are currently 2,113 hotels and lodging facilities citywide with about 49,000 guest rooms, which are enough to accommodate over 7.5 million international visitors a year.
Nearly 1,200 enterprises are active in tourism with 5,000 tour guides, Vu noted.
In the first quarter of 2017, international tourist arrivals to the city are estimated at 1.58 million, a pickup of 15% over the same period last year and meeting 26.4% of the year’s plan, bringing in VND27.77 trillion revenues, up 15.6% year-on-year.
In addition to the existing tourism products, the city tourism sector is focusing on potential products such as waterway travel and tourism associated with agriculture.
Also, the city is promoting new tourism products such as opening an oriental medicine quarter, a pedestrian street, a music road and weekend markets, together with the tourism stimulus program.
“The tourism industry of HCMC in the future will raise its total contribution to the city’s GDP to 12% from the current 10%,” Vu told the meeting on March 29 on the city’s tourism sector performance in the first quarter.
However, the director of the tourism department admitted that despite many positive changes in the tourism environment, robberies, unregistered taxis and brand imitation had irritated visitors in HCMC but no remedies are in sight.
Tourism promotion publications are unattractive.
For the development of river tourism, Tran Hung Viet, general director of Saigontourist, suggested building a proper network of wharves and ports to facilitate river tour programs of travel firms.
A representative of the HCMC Department of Transport said a number of locations had been selected as terminals for river tours, such as Bach Dang Wharf and Saigon Port.
On April 12, the city will start work on a river bus service and put it into operation in late June.
Another service connecting to District 8 will get going in early 2018 to serve travel programs along the canals of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe and Tau Hu-Ben Nghe.
A representative of Can Gio District said the district was in the process of re-planning for the development of a modern coastal city.
Currently, the number of visitors to Can Gio is huge at weekends, leading to congestion at the Binh Khanh ferry terminal.
Meanwhile, the Can Gio Bridge project linking Nha Be and Can Gio, invested by Trung Nam Group and Vingroup, will take at least two more years to complete.
Thus, some have proposed the city upgrade the ferry terminal.
A representative of Cu Chi District said Tuan Chau Group had just conducted a survey for a project to build a 50-km riverside road from Ham Nghi Boulevard in District 1 to Ben Suc in Cu Chi District.
This project is expected to help reduce traffic congestion along the way from the northwest to the city center, contributing to urban rehabilitation and tourism development.
HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen asked each district to develop 1-2 new tourism products and find solutions to ensure safety for waterway tourists.
He said the biggest weakness of the city’s tourism industry now was coordination between departments, so monthly meetings should be organized in the coming time to work out solutions.
Japan assists local firms in tour arrangements
The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has pledged to work closely with Vietnamese travel firms specializing in arranging Japan tours for local guests, JTA said at a conference on the “Visit Japan” program on March 29.
Takahashi Ayumi, the agency’s chief representative in Vietnam, said Vietnam is a potential source market for Japan’s tourism sector. In the five years to 2016, Vietnamese visitors to Japan increased fourfold to over 233,000.
Japan will participate in many tourism fairs such as the International Travel Expo (ITE) in HCMC and organize seminars to provide information and cooperate with domestic tourism companies to open more attractive tours from Vietnam to Japan.
"We are ready to directly support Vietnamese enterprises. They can now ask us for help and we will give advice on a case-by-case basis," said Ayumi at the "Visit Japan" conference in HCMC. This is also the event for the Japan Tourism Agency to introduce its representative office, which was inaugurated in Hanoi on Wednesday.
At the conference, Japan introduced new tourist destinations in Chubu and Kyushu to provide Vietnamese tourists with more tour options. Currently, the most attractive destinations for Vietnamese tourists are Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
The Japanese side has done plenty of activities to help Vietnamese tourism firms organize tours to Japan, including sharing advertising costs.
On March 29 in Hanoi, representatives of the Japan Tourism Agency and the Japan National Tourism Organization signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to promote tourism cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides expect Japanese arrivals in Vietnam to rise to one million by 2018, compared to 740,000 last year, and the number of Vietnamese tourists to Japan to reach half a million by then.