Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City has great potential to attract tourists from new markets like India but the city must diversify its products and services to appeal to more international visitors, an official said on Wednesday.
Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of the city’s Department of Tourism, said new policies were being designed to attract more tourists, especially from India.
The department has also been working with airlines, he said.
In September, the budget airline Vietjet Air plans to open direct flights from HCM City to India, he added.
Last year, the number of Indian visitors to Thailand reached 1.6 million, while the number to Việt Nam was only about 170,000, according to the department.
As one of the measures to improve the situation, the department is working with consultants on food publications for Indian tourists in Việt Nam, according to Vũ.
In recent years, the department has also launched promotion campaigns in India, he added.
International visitors to the city reached nearly 567,000 in May, a rise of 37 per cent over the same period last year, according to figures from the HCM City People’s Committee.
The total number of international visitors to the city was estimated at nearly 3.2 million in the first five months, a rise of 32 per cent over the same period last year, accounting for more than 42 per cent of the year’s plan.
Revenue from the city’s tourism sector was estimated at VNĐ9.29 trillion ($407.38 million) in May, up more than 3 per cent over the same period last year.
Total tourism revenue was estimated at VNĐ51.656 trillion ($2.27 billion) in the first five months, up 14.8 per cent over the same period last year, accounting for more than 37 per cent of the year’s plan.
Vũ said that after the city decided to open museums from morning to afternoon without closing during lunchtime, the number of visitors increased.
In addition, the department has developed more tourism products with growth potential, such as street food, entertainment, folk arts and recreational healthcare, he noted.
The department also plans to focus on waterway tourism and arts programmes for tourists, among others.
The average length of stay of foreign tourists in HCM City is about five days, compared to 5.2 days in 2013, with spending an average $145 per day, according to the Statistics Office.
Speaking at the meeting, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the city considered tourism a key economic sector, urging the department and agencies to work to make its tourism sector more appealing.
He also urged the city to develop a long-term development strategy for tourism.
HCM City aims to attract around 8 million international and 29 million domestic visitors this year. — VNS