International tourists at Nguyen Hue pedestrian street in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Ho Chi Minh City is diversifying tourism products and services to realise its goal of welcoming 8.5 million international tourists in 2019, a year-on-year rise of 14 percent.

The city aims to serve 32.77 million domestic visitors this year, an annual increase of 13 percent.

The tourism sector strives to gross 150 trillion VND (6.45 billion USD) in revenues, up 14.5 percent against 2018.

With a waterway of over 900km, the southern economic hub has favourable conditions to develop river tours.

According to the city’s waterway tourism development plan in 2017-2020, at least seven tour packages will be launched on the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be, Soai Rap, and Long Tau rivers.

The number of river tourists to HCM City is expected to reach about 450,000 per year and increase 15 percent on an annual basis in the following years.

The city hopes to greet 470,000 international sea passengers each year.

The city also hosts a number of festivals to attract visitors such as the annual tourism festival in April, the southern food festival in May, the southern fruit festival in June, the international tourism festival in September, and the international food festival in December. 

A new feature of the local tourism is the launch of the dental tourism project with the ambition of surpassing countries in Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Compared to Thailand and Malaysia, which are developing this form of tourism, HCM City has price advantages. 

Averagely each year, nearly 100,000 foreign patients come to Vietnam for dental treatment. The sector rakes in about 150 million USD in revenues.  

Australia, the US, and New Zealand record the largest number of dental tourists to Vietnam. 

Besides overseas tours, HCM City also develops domestic ones. In the summer of 2019, the city offered nine tours to explore historical and cultural heritage sites in Cu Chi and Can Gio districts targeting local students and workers.-VNA