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Tourism enterprises complain about waterway pollution
Travel firms in HCMC at a meeting with city leaders on April 13 proposed the city government take drastic actions to reduce pollution in urban waterways to attract tourists.
A section of Hy Vong Canal in HCMC is seriously polluted due to garbage
The pollution of Tau Hu-Binh Dong Canal in District 8 and the section from the city center to Cu Chi District of the Saigon River was mentioned at the meeting.
Garbage and water hyacinth often affect waterway transport and cause boats to break down, which leads to higher maintenance costs, the Department of Tourism said.
HCMC now has a total of 3,268 rivers and canals with a total length of more than 5,000 kilometers. The waterway pollution is caused by animal husbandry, industrial wastewater, littering of garbage into the water, and especially a large amount of household wastewater discharged every day into the waterways.
The city also has nearly 1,000 kilometers of waterway for transport including about 200 kilometers of maritime routes with four ports and hundreds of kilometers suitable for waterway tourism.
However, waterway tourism in the city still faces difficulties, the most striking problems being the lack of piers for tourist boats and worsening pollution, according to tour operators.
The city’s tourism industry expects to earn VND120,000 billion (US$5.3 billion) in 2017. HCMC has given the green light to some waterway tourism projects such as the Saigon Corner project by Trung Thuy Group and Saigon Night Market by Ngoi Sao Bien Co Ltd, and agricultural tourism projects in districts 9, Cu Chi and Can Gio.
Besides, oriental medicine streets, walking streets, music roads and weekend markets are also being developed.
HCMC vice chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen told the meeting that the city is preparing to organize an international tourism trade fair in September. The event with the participation of many tourism and IT enterprises will be a good chance to promote tourism in the city.
In addition, the department will conduct a survey of foreign tourists, local people and experts to learn their views of the city’s tourism and then seek to satisfy the tourists’ demand.
HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong asked the tourism department to draw up a plan to attract tourism investors to achieve the targets of more than seven million international arrivals in 2017 and longer stays of tourists.
Phong highlighted that Can Gio District is valuable for forest and sea-based tourism development, so the city is developing the Can Gio Sea Encroachment Tourist Urban Area project with an area of over 2,870 hectares and Binh Khanh Bridge project to connect the city downtown with the outlying district. In addition, the city will invest in other projects such as the 500-hectare Saigon Safari Park in Cu Chi District in late 2017 and a 30-hectare amusement park in Thu Thiem area.
On April 10, the city government approved an urgent scheme to fight environmental pollution, under which the city will boost investment in the wastewater treatment system. The city targets collecting and treating 80% of urban wastewater by 2020.
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