Deputy director of the municipal Department of Tourism Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa told a seminar, held in the city that the number of foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh City reached 519,000 in 1993 and surged to about 6.4 million in 2017.

The figure hit 3.8 million in the first half and is forecast to reach about 7.5 million later this year. Inbound tourists soared from around 1 million to 24.9 million last year.

Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City

Revenue from tourism marked a 40-fold increase during the 1997-2017 period, making up roughly 11 percent of the city’s gross regional development product (GRDP).

Hoa said travel firms of the city have proved their prestige and brand names to inbound and outbound tourists, and often make up among half of the top 10 travel companies in the country.

However, according to her, the municipal tourism sector still faces difficulties in management such as the lack of not only a development strategy and skilled workforce, but also of diverse products and services to extend visitors’ stay and increase their spending.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Education Association Pham Trung Luong said the municipal tourism sector is yet to advise authorities to issue breakthrough policies turning the city into a desired destination, nor created signature products such as shopping and community-based ecological tourism.

The sector is also yet to link up with localities in the effort, especially those in the southeastern region, the Mekong Delta, and other major tourist landmarks in the region, he said.

Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Bui Ta Hoang Vu pledged to continue refining a strategy to develop tourist products and human resources via technological application in the near future.

Source: VNA