Tourists paddle through cajeput forest in Trà Sư, An Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Sang
HCM CITY — HCM City and the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces will promote tourism programmes and linkages between the localities to tap tourism potential under the “new normal”, officials have said.
Speaking at a recent conference on tourism cooperation between HCM City and Long An Province, officials said the tourism sector has been seriously affected over the past two years.
Nguyễn Thị Ánh Hoa, director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, said the city and Long An Province should prepare to recover the domestic tourism sector and resume international activities when the Government allows it.
Long An has diverse tourism products, while HCM City is popular for urban tourism with activities such as shopping, entertainment, healthcare and others, according to Hoa.
Phan Tấn Hòa, deputy chairman of Long An People’s Committee, said Long An would work with HCM City and other Delta provinces to implement travel cooperation programmes.
Travel firms in HCM City said they would offer customised tours to Long An such as weekend getaways to its area which is famous for ecotourism and river tourism.
Nguyễn Hữu Y Yên, general director of Saigontourist Travel Service Company, said the firm has worked with provincial authorities to conduct a survey of major attractions such as the Phước Lộc Thọ ancient village and Tân Lập floating village in the province.
Based on the results of the survey, the company will offer the one-day tour “Long An – Endless Field” for families, friends and companies.
Nguyễn Trần Hoàng Phương, general director of Golden Smile Travel Company, said that Long An has a strategic location next to the country’s largest tourism market in HCM City.
Hoa, director of the HCM City Department of Tourism, proposed the two localities create tourism digital maps that show safe areas for travel activities.
The two localities also need to develop consistent safety criteria for inter-provincial tourism programmes, and improve marketing, traffic and tourism infrastructure, and human resources, according to Phương.
Also speaking at the event, Thắng, deputy chairwoman of HCM City People’s Committee, said it was also important to strengthen tourism links between the city and Bến Tre Province.
Tourism attractions in Bến Tre, which has a 65km long coastline, include fruit gardens, rowboats, horse-drawn carriage rides, and Đờn Ca Tài Tử (southern folk music).
Bến Tre has rich and diverse tourism resources. It has contained the pandemic with most socio-economic activities having returned to new normal. She urged the province to develop several scenarios to restart tourism activities.
Hoa, director of HCM City Department of Tourism, said Bến Tre Province should focus on local resources and develop products from coconut trees, upgrade infrastructure, promote quality services, and provide support policies for tourism firms.
She said it was necessary to develop activities and products that create a brand for Bến Tre tourism.
HCM City, as a trading gateway with other provinces and cities in the country and other countries in the region, has created favourable conditions for tourism cooperation between the city and Mekong Delta provinces.
More than 1,200 travel firms are operating in HCM City. However, the number of travel firms in the Mekong Delta remains small, hindering tourism connections between the region and other cities and provinces.
Mekong Delta is home to a diverse ecosystem with extensive ecotourism products, while HCM City is strong in MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), a form of tourism in which large groups, usually well-planned in advance, are brought together.
Prior to the pandemic, the number of tourists in the Mekong Delta in 2019 was estimated at 40.7 million (including 3.4 million foreign tourists), up 17 per cent year-on-year. — VNS