At the conference (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Waterway tourism businesses in Ho Chi Minh City still face many difficulties when it comes to attracting more tourists, heard a conference on the city’s waterway tourism development held on July 5.

To address the situation, the city needs to implement the waterway tourism development project with the participation of all districts, and particular attention paid to infrastructure quality, Deputy General Director of Saigontourist To Tan Dung said.

The city will maintain an 800m wharf at Nha Rong-Khanh Hoi Port to serve customers of local floating restaurant boats. It will upgrade the port at Hai Thuong Lan Ong street, also known as the city’s oriental medicine street.

In addition, Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism sector has been working with neighbouring provinces to create middle-range tourism products along the three rivers of Sai Gon, Dong Nai, and Mekong.

The deputy head of the Economic and Budget Committee under the municipal People’s Council, Cao Thanh Binh, pointed out that infrastructure investment in the city’s waterway tourism remains modest, and there is a lack of systematic cooperation between travel companies and relevant agencies. 

Besides, the city has yet to complete its tourism development plan, which is a spanner in the work for the building of local tourism products, he added.

At the conference, representatives from the municipal Department of Transport proposed several measures to improve waterway tourism, namely the acceleration of major waterway routes, the construction of Binh Loi railway bridge on Sai Gon River, and a project to replace all unqualified bridges.

The department also plans to upgrade the Sai Gon-Khanh Hoi Port so it can receive domestic and international passenger ships in the future.

The conference saw more than 30 reports analysing activities in waterway tourism in the city and its sustainable development. The ideas proposed in the conference will be collected and sent to the municipal People’s Committee and then to be delivered at the upcoming session of the People’s Council.

The Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area, downstream of the Dong Nai-Sai Gon river system, is surrounded and traversed by nearly 1,000km of rivers and canals, with huge potential for waterway tourism plans in the future.

Waterway tourism in the city is expected to receive about 450,000 tourists in 2018 and the figure is projected to increase by 15 percent in the following years. -VNA