HCMC keen on offering more unique tourist products to attract visitors

Launched for the first time last August, the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) River Festival needs more time to improve the quality of activities to attract visitors, Director of the Tourism Department of the city Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said.

Regarding opinions on the second HCMC River Festival that has not attracted tourists as expected, she noted that normally, a new tourist product takes 2-5 years to build brand positioning and regularly uses advertising channels to attract people. However, HCMC has great potential to draw domestic and international visitors.

The city’s rivers are a priceless treasure of the over 300 years of development of Sai Gon - Cho Lon - Gia Dinh - HCMC. The special outdoor art performance titled “Storytelling River 2 - Legendary Ship” in the opening ceremony of the 2nd HCMC River Festival honored outstanding events of the precious historical treasure. The art performance was highly appreciated by domestic and foreign visitors. It is a huge motivation for the organization board to contentiously improve the quality of the festival and make it better to promote the values of cultural identity and develop the event into a weekly show.

Director of the Tourism Department of the city Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa (Photo: SGGP)

In addition, the tourism sector of HCMC has launched a program encouraging districts throughout the city to create their unique tourism products and build tours visiting popular local attractions in response to the tourist program themed “Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City” to invite visitors back after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HCMC Department of Tourism has created a statistic of tourism resources in the city and coordinated with districts to survey and build typical tourist products. It is estimated that Thu Duc City and district citywide have more than 40 typical tourist products that were launched recently.

Currently, the HCMC Department of Tourism has connected these products into a chain of characteristic products of the city and presented them in a travel guidebook providing various groups of products in the fields of culture, history, waterway tourism, community tourism, health tourism, cuisine, and night-time tourism.

Thu Duc City, districts and travel firms need to join hands to improve the quality of products and destinations and strengthen tourism advertising and marketing.

Additionally, the city has launched many tours celebrating the 50th anniversary of southern liberation and national reunification (April 30, 1975-2025), such as a full moon night tour in the revolutionary resistance base in Cu Chi District, HCMC-Con Dao speedboat trip, Thieng Lieng community-based ecotourism in Can Gio District, a trip in a double-decker water bus operating along the Saigon River to enjoy panoramic views of the southern metropolis.

In the coming time, the city’s tourism sector will continue to carry out the application of 3D technology to complete the smart interactive 3D/360 tourism map of HCMC and the connection between the southern metropolis and 62 provinces and cities throughout the country in five languages.

Visitors are learning to fold coconut leaves to make creatures in the 2nd HCMC River Festival. (Photo: SGGP)

The HCMC's tourism industry has built a product development strategy associated with its product promotion strategy, conducted in-depth research on preferences of tourists tied to each product group to help domestic and international tourists from key and potential markets access information and choose HCMC as a destination for entertainment, relaxation, conferences, sightseeing, shopping, culinary experiences, exploration of local culture and life of people.

Under the strategy, the 18th International Travel Expo HCMC - ITE HCMC (ITE - HCMC) 2024 will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in District 7 on September 5-7. The event is expected to attract more than 250 local and foreign travel agents, carriers, hotels, resorts, and representatives from tourism promotion agencies from 50 countries and territories. It is an opportunity to introduce and promote tourist products of HCMC, localities in the country, and the lower Mekong countries.

The city’s tourism sector is focusing on promoting a new visa policy to help facilitate tourism development associated with the destination and product marketing according to different themes such as cuisine, MICE, culture, and history to attract visitors in key markets including Northeast Asia (Japan, South Korea, China), North America (the US, Canada), Western Europe (Germany, the UK, France), Australia, and Southeast Asia.

Under the tourism campaign internationally, the tourism industry of the city will organize promotional programs in Germany and Australia in May and June, in the US and ASEAN countries in October, and participate in the World Travel Market London (WTM London) in November.

Additionally, the city's Tourism Department also collaborates with domestic and international airlines to invite travel agencies, MICE tourism companies, press delegations, and key opinion leaders (KOLs) in key and potential markets to participate in destination surveys in HCMC and other localities.

The city will pay attention to strengthening tourism commercials on international news channels, including CNN, Discovery, BBC News, PR Newswire, VNPR, and Heritage magazine.

In the first five months of 2024, HCMC received more than 2.2 million international visitors and nearly 14 million domestic visitors. The total tourism revenue reached over VND76,000 billion (US$3 billion), up 14 percent compared to the same period last year.

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