Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Domestic waterway tourism in HCM City can not develop with its current weak infrastructure system.
From the beginning of the year, owners of six floating restaurants in the Nhà Rồng Wharf (Dragon Wharf) in district 4 were told by the new owner of the port, the Ngọc Viễn Đông Urban Investment and Development Ltd.Co, that they are not allowed to dock there anymore.
The Ngọc Viễn Đông Urban Investment and Development Ltd.Co will build a complex facility in Hiệp Phước port and in return, it has the right to manage the Nhà Rồng Wharf.
The company only agrees to rent 300m of its wharf for receiving international guests and does not allow tourism boats and floating restaurants to dock there.
The Thuyền buồm Đông Dương (Indochina Sailboat) Ltd.Co has 15 years of experience in this kind of business with seven tourism and floating restaurant boats.
At the beginning, the company had a very good business at the Bạch Đằng wharf in district 1. After local authorities suddenly stopped business activities in the wharf in early 2015, the company moved to Nhà Rồng port in district 4 and had to sell four boats because of a lack of space to dock and the Nhà Rồng port is a cargo, not tourism, port.
Since early 2015, the company has paid a fee of VNĐ400 million ($18,000) per month for its three boats as docking at the Nhà Rồng Wharf, which is three times higher than the rate of VNĐ100 million when they were in the Bạch Đằng Wharf.
“All expenditure has been put into the prices of our services and then customers have to suffer. This does not encourage the domestic waterway tourism,” An Sơn Lâm, director of the company told the Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.
The situation became worse as local authorities planned to boost the local waterway tourism. The Culture, Sports and Tourism Department encouraged the company to invest into the industry and “promised” that they would have enough space to dock.
“We have invested several million US dollars to build a high-quality and luxury floating restaurant but we had to receive a ’death sentence’ when we were told that there was no space to dock, while our boat was being built,” Lâm said.
“At the present, the city has 1,800 meters of wharfs and the city must use at least 1,000 m if they want to boost the local waterway tourism sector,” he suggested.
The similar situation has happened to the Hoàng Triều Investment Joint Stock Company with 15 canoes for waterway tourism services.
“Now there are only three ports for local waterway tours in HCM City but only the Tân Cảng port is good enough for tourism,” Liêu Thị Mỹ Hạnh, director of the company said.
Phan Xuân Anh, chairman of the Du Ngoạn Việt Ltd company, pointed out that the city has lost its potential for waterway tourism as the city authorities closed the Bạch Đằng and Nhà Rồng ports.
“Investing in building a port for international tourists in that Đèn Đỏ Cape is necessary but these two ports have historical meanings and are in good locations to boost tourism,” he said.
“Local authorities should encourage investment for new tourism waterway ports,” he added.
“The Sài Gòn River bank should be an open and public space which connects with the tourism ports. The city should release a master plan with space for pedestrians, ports and a bus system,” architect Ngô Viết Nam Sơn said. – VNS