Friday, 24/05/2024 06:26

HCM City seeks to diversity water tourism products

The upcoming 2nd Annual HCM City River Festival will take place from May 31 to June 9. VNA/VNS Photo

HCM CITY With the upcoming 2nd Annual River Festival, HCM City is determined to further promote and diversify its water tourism offerings.

In recent days, many online social platforms have been buzzing with posts about the upcoming HCM City River Festival, which will take place from May 31 to June 9. Water tourism in HCM City has never been as vigorously promoted as it has been recently. 

The nearly 6,000 spectators who attended The River Tells a Story during the first HCM City River Festival in 2023 were left with lasting impressions.

The five-part performance illustrated the cultural and economic activities, and lifestyle of the inhabitants of Sài Gòn - Chợ Lớn - Gia Định - HCM City over the past 300 years through modern and meticulously detailed performance technology, leaving an indelible mark on viewers.

It was the first time an art programme was staged on the Sài Gòn River, combining various performance technologies, harmonising entertainment and historical elements. Beyond eliciting emotions, the inaugural HCM City Water Festival in 2023 brought in revenue for the city's tourism industry.

Over the three days of the festival, HCM City welcomed approximately 100,000 domestic visitors and 54,000 international tourists, a 112 per cent increase compared to the April 30 and May 1 holidays. Hotel occupancy rates increased by 15 per cent, and the total number of festival participants exceeded 51,000.

The city's tourism sector hopes that this year's river festival will continue to attract a large number of domestic and international tourists, contributing to the industry's growth as it enters the low season.

The first HCM City River Festival in 2023 attracted nearly 6,000 spectators. VNA/VNS Photo

Ultilising HCM City's waterways

HCM City has long recognised the importance of rivers and canals in exploiting tourism and economic potential. For about 20 years, river tours and various waterway tourism projects have been continuously developed and implemented.

However, nearly 1,000 kilometres of river routes, with a network of canals connecting many provinces and cities, along with numerous local economic activities, have suffered from pollution and waste. The city struggled to find a way to monetise its waterways.

It was not until the 2023 River Festival that Sài Gòn’s riverine urban identity was vividly portrayed and waterway tourism products of such scale were first introduced.

Following this, the city's tourism sector introduced a total of 17 waterway tourism products, including seven regular routes and 10 new ones. Among these, four medium-sized routes originating from HCM City to Bình Dương and Đồng Nai pass through golf courses to cater to golf tourism.

According to Phan Xuân Anh, chairman of the board of directors of Việt Excursions Company, HCM City is increasingly committed to investing in substantial river tourism products, turning water into economic benefits for the people.

This foundation allows the city to continue developing significant products that enhance the value of its water resources and the status of water tourism professionals.

Experiments such as boat races and dragon boat races on the Sài Gòn River during the River Festival will provide HCM City with experience for organising larger competitions in the future.

International boat races like F1 and F2 are entirely feasible, he said, emphasing that HCM City is increasingly leveraging its water resources to develop world-class tourism products.

Recently, water tours are also gaining favor among HCM City's residents. On the night of April 30, all river bus routes connecting Bạch Đằng - Linh Đông and Bạch Đằng - Thủ Thiêm were fully booked.

Many visitors reserved their tickets half a month in advance. Instead of spending money on expensive flights, they chose to stay in the city and explore experiences that seemed familiar yet were incredibly new and attractive.

Sài Gòn Waterbus Company reported welcoming 3,000 - 4,000 passengers during the April 30 holiday, with all trips for fireworks viewing fully booked.

"During major holidays, we will organise additional fireworks viewing tours on double-decker buses. This unique and appealing experience is very popular, with most customers booking online in advance, so all seven trips for fireworks sold out. Not only families but also many young people enjoy this unique viewing experience," shared a representative from Sài Gòn Waterbus Company. VNS

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