The city leaders have joined fact-finding river tours and urged related agencies to clear the way for all business sectors, especially the private sector, to engage in tourist wharf projects in a bid to develop river tourism, said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The city government wants to call for investment in tourist wharf construction in various formats in order to stimulate river tourism development, he said.
"HCMC authorities have suggested related agencies to make conditions favorable for private investors to implement tourist wharf projects in an effort to promote river tourism,” said Khanh.
Developing river tourism is one of the key plans of HCMC's hospitality industry. Last year, the city launched several river tours to Can Gio. For instance, international cruise passengers from Vung Tau-based Phy My Port can reach Can Gio mangrove forest for sightseeing and joining sporting activities there.
Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the city, last month took a field river trip from Bach Dang Wharf to Can Gio in a bid to find ways to promote river tour packages.
Khanh said the city’s tourism authorities focus on introducing new tours instead of launching more tourism promotion campaigns overseas to maintain the growth pace in the face of economic woes.
This year, the city government has set aside VND11 billion for tourism promotion activities, which is unchanged from last year.
“With higher expectations and the same budget for tourism promotion, we've decided to cut PR plans in foreign markets,” Khanh said.
The tourism industry makes up around 11% of the city’s GDP. In 2011, it generated total revenue of some VND57 trillion, or around US$2.75 billion.
Source: The Saigon Times Daily