|Foreign tourists at the Independence Palace in HCM City. VNS Photo Thu Hằng
HCM CITY — The tourism sector in HCM City needs to focus on developing river-based tourism, cuisine tourism, MICE tourism as well as organise festivals and nighttime activities, city leaders said.
Speaking at a conference held on Thursday, Nguyễn Thị Lệ, chairwoman of the People’s Council, asked the city’s Department of Tourism to diversify tourism products and step up adoption of information technology and digital transformation for marketing and promotion activities as part of measures to boost tourism development.
Marketing and promotion activities needed to focus on major traditional markets as well as potential markets, Lệ said.
She ordered the People’s Committee and related departments to build more boat docks and upgrade infrastructure to support businesses to develop river-based tourism products.
Tourism linkages with localities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta and the southeast region needed to be strengthened to create more inter-provincial tours, she said.
"Lack of quality human resources in tourism and travel is one of the issues that the tourism sector needs to promptly address," she added.
Đặng Thị Thi Thanh, deputy general director of BenThanh Tourist, said tourism businesses found it very difficult to access subsidised loans as travel firms had no assets to mortgage for the loan.
She proposed that the city authorities offer flexible policies to make it easier for businesses to get low-interest loans.
Support packages for tourism businesses such as reductions of value-added taxes and corporate income taxes should be extended until year end, she said.
Huỳnh Ngọc Vân, director of the Áo Dài Museum, said cultural heritage played an important role in tourism and coordinated efforts between cultural and tourism agencies were needed to introduce cultural activities to tourists.
It was difficult for museums to continue to keep employees on their payroll due to a drop in income, Vân said.
Museums in the city needed support from the Government to retain employees, she said.
Huỳnh Phan Phương Hoàng, deputy general director of Vietravel, said the city authorities should support businesses to diversify tourism offerings, promote linkages with neighbouring provinces for inter-provincial tour packages and develop the night economy.
These measures would help tourists stay longer and spend more on their trips, Hoàng said.
Dương Anh Đức, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said tourism was a driving force for economic development, contributing significantly to the city’s GDP.
It was vital to improve the quality of products and services and push for digital marketing to develop tourism sustainably, Đức said.
In the first nine months of this year, the city welcomed more than 2.1 million international visitor arrivals and 21.6 million domestic visitor arrivals.
Tourism revenue totalled VNĐ92.4 trillion (US$3.88 billion). — VNS