Well-done promotion campaigns and other actions to strengthen tourism could help Ho Chi Minh City develop the sector, experts said.

Tran Long, General Manager of travel operator Du lich Viet, said the city should upload information about the country's public safety situation on social media to assure the international community.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, Director of Asian Trails, said the city's tourism sector should identify "potential" markets and carry out promotions there.

The Government should also consider waiving visa fees for tourists from such markets - like Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, France, Spain, Brazil, and India, she said.

Nguyen Minh Man, Deputy Director of Vietravel, said relevant city authorities should hold more Vietnam food festivals abroad to make the country's cuisine a tourism attraction.

Other experts said in the long term the city should focus on upgrading the quality of specific tourism products which connect to existing natural resources and potentiality, increasing their competitiveness.

The city plans to ask the 100 leading hotels to join a tourism stimulus programme.

Attractive destination

In the eyes of international tourists, Ho Chi Minh City has always been a hospitable and safe destination.

Top travel companies in the city report consistent growth in international tourist arrivals.

Vietravel said it served 17,000 international tourists in first five months of the year, a 20 percent year-on-year rise. Its main markets are Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia.

The number of international tourists using the services of Saigontourist increased by 20 percent in the first five months as the company welcomed a record 8,500 people arriving on international cruise ships.

Other companies like Du lich Viet, Hoa Sen, and Asian Trails reported increases of 10-15 percent.

According to the city's Tourism Association, China's illegal deployment of an oil rig in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf since the beginning of May has somewhat affected tourism, but the sector has continued to do well and exceeded its targets.

There were 1.8 million international visitors to the city in the first five months, a 9.7 percent increase year-on-year.

The number rose by an estimated 8.3 percent last month to 310,200.

Most of the visitors were from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and European countries.-VNA