Sunday,  Nov 18, 2018,20:06 (GMT+7) 0 0
Pollution, poor infrastructure affecting river tourism
The Saigon Times Daily
Friday,  Jul 6, 2018,17:52 (GMT+7)

Pollution, poor infrastructure affecting river tourism

The Saigon Times Daily

Foreign tourists get on board a tourist boat at Tan Cang tourist site - PHOTO: DAO LOAN

HCMC – Experts, researchers and enterprises said at a conference on July 5 that HCMC’s river tourism development still faces difficulties, especially inadequate infrastructure facilities, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

At least seven waterway tourism projects have been proposed on the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be, Soai Rap and Long Tau rivers, in addition to local canals, in a plan on product development for the waterway tourism sector in HCMC in the 2017-2020 period.

The city had targeted attracting 450,000 tourists for river tours in 2017-2018, increasing the figure by 15% in the following years and welcoming some 470,000 foreign tourists to HCMC by sea every year. But the HCMC Department of Tourism could not achieve the target as the lack of infrastructure, berths and wharfs prevented tourist boats from docking, bringing the city’s waterway tourism to its knees.

Speaking at the conference, themed, “River Tourism Development in HCMC,” jointly held by the HCMC Development Research Institute and HCMC University of Culture, Mai Ha Phuong from the university highlighted multiple bottlenecks hindering the development of river tourism, such as waterway pollution, unattractive views of the two river banks as well as a shortage and unreasonable locations of berths. Symbolic products for river tourism have yet to be launched.

Phuong noted that due to the limited interaction between neighboring localities and the Mekong Delta region, river tours are being operated only in the city and on two main routes: Saigon-Can Gio and Saigon-Cu Chi. Phuong also blamed high river tour prices and the lack of night tour services for the dwindling popularity of river tourism.

Cao Thanh Binh, deputy head of the Economic and Budget Committee under the municipal People’s Council, said despite the city’s river tourism potential, there was no special product, suggesting the need for a river tourism controller.

Addressing the conference, deputy director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa stressed that the tourism sector could not develop alone and needed the support of other agencies, departments and sectors.

The Department of Tourism is in the process of working with waterway tour operators to map out a plan to address the difficulties and foster the sector’s development, Hoa revealed, adding that changes in administrative procedures will also contribute to the development of river tourism.

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