Tourist boats operate on Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - Despite having a 1,000-km long network of canals and rivers, Ho Chi Minh City has developed its waterway tourism slowly in recent years, with only a few tours now operating.

Waterway tours, for example, are available on Ben Nghe and Tau Hu canals and at Can Gio beach, and plans are being made for weekend tours of Long Phuoc island in Can Gio district.

The island tour is expected to open after Nam Ly Dyke is upgraded and transport becomes available on Trau Trau Canal, which connect Districts 2 and 9.

In addition, after renovation is completed on Hang Bang and Van Tuong canals in Districts 5 and 6, new inner waterway tours are expected to open by 2020.

However, travel agencies have not made use of the waterway city tours, which were launched in 2015 and this year, saying there are few attractions on the tours.

Travel expert Duong Thi Thanh Thuy said there were only a number of sites to visit on the tours, such as the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, the main Post Office, Ben Thanh Market and Ngoc Hoang (Jade) Pagoda.

She said that the city should study Bangkok’s development along the 4-km Chao Phraya Canal. With investment from the Thailand Tourism Authority, several tourist sites have been developed along the canal, attracting 5 million people per year.

The only waterway service that exists now is a tour to Cu Chi Tunnels by motorboat, and riverway tours of Can Gio bio reserve, made under contracts signed between tourists and Saigontourist.

“A major plan for riverway tourism is needed for the long-term development of the country’s tourism industry,” said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCM City Tourism Department.-VNA