|Bùi Tá Hòang Vũ, director of HCM City’s Department of Tourism. Photo nld.com.vn|
Bùi Tá Hòang Vũ, director of the HCM City’s Department of Tourism, talks to Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper about HCM City’s efforts to improve its tourism environment to meet the target of 8.5 million foreign visitors and 32 million domestic visitors this year.
What will you focus on to attract more tourists to HCM City?
We will improve the quality of existing tourism programs, diversify more tourism products and organise a series of tourism events throughout the year to attract visitors, such as waterway tourism.
The department will add more types of waterway vehicles and more waterway activities. It will also devise marketing strategies and organise promotional activities abroad to attract international tourists.
HCM City’s tourism is developing seven main tourism products: cultural – heritage, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions), culinary, health, waterway, eco-tourism and shopping.
The department will also connect with neighboring regions, including the 13 provinces in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta to offer more diverse tourism products.
Culinary tourism is an advantage for HCM City, but it has yet to be used to boost HCM City’s tourism.
Yes, that’s right. However, this year the city’s Department of Tourism will work with the Việt Nam Culinary Culture Association to organise more food streets to promote Việt Nam’s cuisine to foreign visitors.
Culinary tourism is our advantage. However, we should improve the quality, management and promotion of this kind of tourism. Many streets in HCM City could become professional food streets.
What are the challenges of attracting 8.5 million foreign visitors? What data from the city’s Department of Tourism database will you use to create a plan to increase the time and money spent by visitors in HCM City? And what will you do to increase the return rate of visitors?
Cultural – heritage tourism currently is the main product attracting foreign visitors. These sites include the HCM City War Remnants Museum, one of the top three most popular museums in the world, Củ Chi Tunnels, the famous manmade underground work from the war, Sác Forest in Cần Giờ District, and Sài Gòn’s relics and architecture.
The city’s department of tourism worked with the Statistics Bureau last year to collect information about the time and money spent by foreign tourists. Based on that data, the department of tourism will create a plan to increase visitors’ time and money spent in HCM City as well as the return rate of visitors to the city.
In addition, the Department of Tourism will also be focusing on market research and applying high-tech in tourism promotion to depict HCM City as a safe, attractive and friendly destination. – VNS