PANO – Being the tourist hub in the Mekong Delta River Region, the potential of the tourism sector of Can Tho City has not developed as it should be.

With many tourist destinations, such as Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets, Khuong and Au sand dunes and Ninh Kieu wharf, last year, Can Tho City drew more than 1 million visitors, including 200,000 foreigners, earning VND 851 billion.

In the last 3 years (2010-2012), the city gradually diversified its tourism products and worked jointly with neighbouring localities to popularize and broaden the tourism market.

For example, the Can Tho City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has associated with the City’s Trade, Investment and Tourism Promotion Centre to help Phong Dien district design an eco-tourism product and help local farmers run eco-friendly tourism business in their own orchards.

In addition, the department also cooperated with the People’s Committee of Cai Rang district to develop Cai Rang floating market to ensure its specific characteristics and traffic safety.

Despite its efforts, Can Tho City’s tourism development remains modest as compared to other areas. According to Mr. Pham Minh Sang, Director of My Khanh Joint Stock Company, authorities at all levels should create relevant policies and pour more capital into tourist localities, including the My Khanh Tourist Village – one of the most attractive sites in Can Tho City which provides homestay tours for both Vietnamese and foreign tourists. Meanwhile, tourism businesses should effectively use capital to invest in tourism infrastructure and develop craft villages to attract more visitors.

Another problem facing Can Tho City’s tourism sector is the shortage of human resources, especially professional tourism staff. At present, only 40 per cent of tourism agents in the city have undergone proper training courses and only 33 per cent of them have certificates of different majors. This poses a great difficulty for the city’s tourism development.

Mr. Nguyen Hoang On, Head of Department for Culture of Phong Dien district, said that it is necessary for each locality to find its specific and suitable tourism products and the city’s tourism sector should organise more training courses to hone the professionalism of tourism agents to meet tourism products’ demands.

Besides, Can Tho City will continuously call for more investment and boost its image to visitors inside and outside the country by various activities, such as the recent contest to select the most typical tourism product, stated Mr. Tran Viet Phuong, Head of the Can Tho City’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The city believes that these activities would help develop its tourism sector and draw more tourists to the city, added Phuong.

Translated by Van Hieu