HCM City: Poor waterway infrastructure hinders tourism growth hinh anh 1Waterway tourism has a lot of potential in HCM City but poor infrastructure has limited development (Photo: bizlive.vn)

HCM City (VNA) – The current weak infrastructure system is hindering the development of domestic waterway tourism in Ho Chi Minh City.

From the beginning of the year, owners of six floating restaurants in the Nha Rong Wharf (Dragon Wharf) in district 4 were told by the new owner of the port, the Ngoc Vien Dong Urban Investment and Development Ltd. Co, that they are not allowed to dock there anymore.

The Ngoc Vien Dong Urban Investment and Development Ltd. Co will build a complex facility in Hiep Phuoc port and in return, it has the right to manage the Nha Rong Wharf.

The company only agrees to rent 300m of its wharf for receiving international guests and does not allow tourism boats and floating restaurants to dock there.

The Thuyen buom Dong Duong (Indochina Sailboat) Ltd. Co has 15 years of experience in this kind of business with seven tourism and floating restaurant boats.

At the beginning, the company had a very good business at the Bach Dang wharf in District 1. After local authorities suddenly stopped business activities in the wharf in early 2015, the company moved to Nha Rong port in district 4 and had to sell four boats because of a lack of space to dock and the Nha Rong port is a cargo, not tourism, port.

Since early 2015, the company has paid a fee of 400 million VND (18,000 USD) per month for its three boats as docking at the Nha Rong Wharf, which is three times higher than the rate of 100 million VND when they were in the Bach Dang Wharf.

“All expenditure has been put into the prices of our services and then customers have to suffer. This does not encourage the domestic waterway tourism,” An Son Lam, director of the company told the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

The situation became worse as local authorities planned to boost the local waterway tourism. The Culture, Sports and Tourism Department encouraged the company to invest into the industry and “promised” that they would have enough space to dock.

“We have invested several millions of US dollar to build a high-quality and luxury floating restaurant but we had to receive a ’death sentence’ when we were told that there was no space to dock, while our boat was being built,” Lam said.

“At the present, the city has 1,800 meters of wharfs and the city must use at least 1,000 m if they want to boost the local waterway tourism sector,” he suggested.

The similar situation has happened to the Hoang Trieu Investment Joint Stock Company with 15 canoes for waterway tourism services.

“Now there are only three ports for local waterway tours in HCM City but only the Tan Cang port is good enough for tourism,” Lieu Thi My Hanh, director of the company said.

Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of the Du Ngoan Viet Ltd company, pointed out that the city has lost its potential for waterway tourism as the city authorities closed the Bach Dang and Nha Rong ports.

“Investing in building a port for international tourists in that Den Do Cape is necessary but these two ports have historical meanings and are in good locations to boost tourism,” he said.

“Local authorities should encourage investment for new tourism waterway ports,” he added.

“The Saigon River bank should be an open and public space which connects with the tourism ports. The city should release a master plan with space for pedestrians, ports and a bus system,” architect Ngo Viet Nam Son said.-VNA