Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Despite having a 1,000-km long network of canals and rivers, HCM City has developed its waterway tourism slowly in recent years, with only a few tours now operating.
Waterway tours, for example, are available on Bến Nghé and Tàu Hủ canals and at Cần Giờ beach, and plans are being made for weekend tours of Long Phước Island in Cần Giờ District.
The island tour is expected to open after Năm Lý Dyke is upgraded and transport becomes available on Trau Trảu Canal, which connect districts 2 and 9.
In addition, after renovation is completed on Hàng Bàng and Vạn Tượng canals in districts 5 and 6, new inner waterway tours are expected to open by 2020.
However, travel agencies have not made use of the waterway city tours, which were launched in 2015 and this year, saying there are few attractions on the tours.
Travel expert Dương Thị Thanh Thuỷ said there were only a number of sites to visit on the tours, such as the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the main Post Office, Bến Thành Market and Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda.
She said that the city should study Bangkok’s development along the 4-km Chao Phraya Canal. With investment from the Thailand Tourism Authority, several tourist sites have been developed along the canal, attracting 5 million people per year.
The manager of a travel agency, who declined to be named, said HCM City’s waterway tourism had been lagging behind in the last few years.
He said all eight riverway tours operated by Saigontourist had been suspended because there had been few bookings.
The only waterway service that exists now is a tour to Củ Chi Tunnels by motorboat, and riverway tours of Cần Giờ bio reserve, made under contracts signed between tourists and Saigontourist.
“A major plan for riverway tourism is needed for the long-term development of the country’s tourism industry,” said Lã Quốc Khánh, deputy director of the HCM City Tourism Department. – VNS