Fireworks, festivals and floating markets: Saigon's new tourism plan
Ho Chi Minh City is looking to diversify its tourism services to attract both local and long-haul travelers, a senior city official has said.
The main strategy to boost the tourism industry lies in convincing more visitors to stay for longer, Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the city's People's Committee, said at a meeting Friday. He added that the city is working on a wide range of new tourism services and products.
Under the plan, the city is seeking to promote performing arts festivals, sporting events and waterway tourism services, among others, while focusing on high-end leisure travel.
Dinh La Thang, the city's top leaders, said at a meeting earlier this month that he has discussed the idea of asking businesses to sponsor fireworks shows in the city every weekend and on holidays.
Thang said the shows could become a major tourism attraction for the city, like the Da Nang International Fireworks Contest that is held every two years in the central city. But the plan has raised widespread hackles over its possible waste of money.
The city’s leaders recently revealed a plan to engage private investors to develop a floating market offering all kinds of goods to travelers along its tangled inner waterway system.
HCMC may also follow in the footsteps of other major cities by hosting sporting events to attract sports tourists and foreign investment, develop infrastructure and boost the city's international reputation.
“We should be getting down to work now to create new tourism services,” said Tuyen, the vice chairman.
Ho Chi Minh City is expecting to receive 5.2 million foreign tourists this year, a 10 percent increase from last year, according to the municipal tourism department.
The number of local arrivals has also jumped 10 percent to 21.8 million. Tourism remains a key revenue stream for the city and is forecast to generate VND103 trillion ($4.5 billion) this year, up 9 percent year-on-year.