Vietnam makes waves with improved waterway tourism

The second Ho Chi Minh City River Festival 2024 will take place from May 31 to June 9, at Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi Wharf, Saigon Cruise Port, and other tourist venues, featuring a wide range of culture, cuisine, and entertainment activities.

Vietnam makes waves with improved waterway tourism. (Photo: VNA)

This year’s festival is expected to turn the southern metropolis into a popular destination for waterway tourism. A signature show called ‘the Story of a River’, the highlight of the festival, will tell the story of historic boats associated with the locality.

The first river festival was held in 2023. More than 6,000 spectators took in five spectacular performances in the event, recreating cultural and economic activities, and lifestyles of river dwelllers of Saigon - Cho Lon - Gia Dinh - Ho Chi Minh City about three centuries ago. This was the first time an art show had been performed on a stage built on the Saigon River with a diverse combination of performance technologies and a harmony of entertainment and historical elements.

According to Le Hai Yen, general director of this year's festival, nearly 1,000 professional and amateur performers will participate at the event. The outdoor performance space at Nha Rong Wharf- Khanh Hoi - Saigon Port will be transformed into a large film studio, promising to wow spectators. The festival will tell modern historical stories about the special boats that used to come in and out the Saigon River, associated with important milestones of the nation.

Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, Director of the municipal Department of Tourism, said that the city's tourism sector expects this year's festival will continue to attract a large number of domestic and foreign tourists, contributing to the growth of the sector in the time ahead.

Meanwhile, Da Nang has undertaken landscape planning on both sides of Han river, to improve local tourism development. The city will rebuild the area into an urban center with administrative-political offices, financial center, and a gateway to riverside and coastal tourism. The area is also being upgraded to host both national and international convention and conference centres.

The central city is implementing a nearly VND400 billion (US$15.7 million) project to light up the Han River with horizontal bridges. In 2024, the two banks of the Han River will be the venues for 55 periodic and annual cultural events and festivals organised by agencies, units and localities. The Han River, the "heart"of the city, is blowing fresh air into Da Nang tourism.

Its neighbouring city of Hue is also organising river tours by yacht. Tourists will have a chance to enjoy the scenery on both sides of the Huong River. Parks and open spaces along the banks of the river have been redeveloped to promote festive, entertainment, and sports activities and fairs.

In the coming time, Thua Thien-Hue province will invest in a number of new marinas to bring tourists to relic sites such as Ho Quyen, Thuy Bieu community tourism village or Khai Dinh Tomb.

In the northern region, Phu Tho province has cooperated with Yen Bai and Lao Cai provinces to build tourism products along the Red River connecting cultural values between the three provinces to serve tourists with many attractive tourism programs.

Attracting international tourists to relic sites and cultural heritages also brings income to local people, and contributes to creating motivation for people to maintain and develop traditional crafts, and promote the value of cultural heritages.

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