Illustrative photo: vietnamnet.vn

HCM City (VNA) - The HCM City Tourism Association kicked off the 2017 domestic tourism promotion programme with discounts of up to 70 percent on package tours on December 20.

The participating companies include Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, Saigon Railway Transport Joint Stock Company and Hanoi Railway Transport Joint Stock Company, Nguyen Thi Khanh, deputy head of the association, said.

Next year, the programme would offer tour packages by air with discounts of 70 percent, she said.

Under the programme, a promotion campaign titled Du Xuân Sài Gòn và Du Xuân Phương Nam (Enjoying Spring in Saigon and the Southern Region) offers discounts on air and railway fares to HCM City and neighbouring provinces before and after Tet (the Lunar New Year).

The Saigon Railway Transport Joint Stock Company would offer discounts of 40-50 percent on all railway fares as part of tourism stimulus packages next year, Le Quoc Trung, deputy general director of the company, said.

During holidays, the fares would be cut by 10 percent, he said.

Nearly 221,000 air tickets were sold this year as part of the tourism stimulus packages, 287 percent up from last year.

Most of these tours were from HCM City to Phu Quoc, Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Hai Phong.

More than 13,000 railway tickets were sold this year.

New tourism products

Tran Vinh Tuyen, Deputy Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, has instructed the departments of tourism, culture and sports and transport to develop seven tourism products next year.

At a meeting held last week to discuss tourism development plans for next year, he said at least one or two new river sightseeing tours with dining on board would be launched by private operators next year.

Street art activities such as the lion-dragon dance festival and circus festival should be held annually to boost the city’s tourism prospects, he said.

He said fireworks displays in combination with lighting art festivals should be organised regularly with the involvement of private investors.

Rural tourism in the city’s outlying districts of Can Gio and Hoc Mon has huge potential for sightseeing and leisure tours in combination with culinary tourism and farming activities, he said.

He also instructed the Department of Tourism to finalise a master plan for tourism development for up to 2020.

The number of foreign visitors to HCM City is estimated at 5.2 million this year, 10 percent higher than last year, according to the tourism department.

The number of domestic visitors to the city topped 21.8 million, again a year-on-year increase of 10 percent.

Tourism revenues rose by 9 percent from last year to 103 trillion VND (4.53 billion USD) this year.

The department targets 5.5 million international visitors and 24 domestic visitors next year.

It plans to organise a tourism event every month to attract visitors.-VNA