Foreign visitors to Ben Thanh Market in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has called for travel companies’ cooperation to attract 7 million foreign tourists to the city in 2017.

At a meeting with tourism firms on April 13, he said the city’s tourism development is partly driven by travel businesses and accommodation providers.

He pledged the best possible conditions for their operations to turn tourism into a spearhead industry.

This year, HCM City will upgrade museums and entertainment centres, accelerate the construction of a safari park in Cu Chi district and develop sea tourism in Can Gio district to attract visitors and encourage their spending. It has also devised a human resources development programme for tourism.

Phong asked the municipal Tourism Department to design a tourism development strategy until 2030 and beyond, or else the industry won’t develop fully. The city’s leaders are ready to invite foreign experts and organisations to assist in outlining this strategy.

At the meeting, representatives of many travel companies and hotels gave opinions on tourism products along with various types of tourism. They also pointed out obstacles facing businesses in the industry.

HCM City welcomed about 5.2 million foreign tourists in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 10 percent.

By the end of 2017’s first quarter, there were more than 1,170 travel companies in the city, including 575 foreign ones, mostly in districts 1, 3 and Phu Nhuan.-VNA