Enormous potential

If the southern economic hub is able to capitalize on its 1,100 kilometers of waterway, it will ease pressure on road transport while creating motivation for the development of other economic sectors.

The municipal transport sector has recently proposed the development of a corridor along the Saigon River to connect the metropolis to other localities in the Southeastern region. The road planning is expected to shape up waterway landscapes as well as leverage the potential of the riverside, tourism and economy.

Ho Chi Minh City is home to more than 100 waterway routes and favorable conditions to develop modern marinas. (Photo: baochinhphu.vn)

As waterway tourism has an important role to play in promoting HCM City’s tourism growth, the municipal People’s Committee issued a plan for the development of waterway tourism products in the 2023-2025 period.

Under the plan, the city will launch waterway tourism products in all inland routes on all rivers in the city, and inter-provincial routes connecting with the neighboring provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tien Giang, Long An and Ben Tre.

By 2025, it aims to develop at least 10 waterway tours and waterway tour programs linking seaports and river routes.

The city is striving to welcome about 500,000 visitors a year to waterway tourism programs in the 2023-2024 period. This number is expected to increase by 10% in the following years.

The number of international cruise ship tourists arriving in the city will be 100,000 in 2023 and 2024, and rise 12% - 15% in the following years.

In the 2023-2024 period, the city’s cruise industry is expected to hit 500 billion VND (21 million USD) per year in revenue, and increase by 12% in the following years.

Most recently, the municipal Department of Tourism and the People’s Committee of District 7 introduced a slew of novel waterway products at an event held in response to the city’s third tourism week and debuted the district’s waterway sport club.

Boat tours on the Saigon River are attractive to both domestic and international visitors. (Photo: baodautu.vn)

The District 7 People’s Committee outlined a plan to develop waterway tourism during the 2023-2025 period with a vision to 2030. It launched multiple boat tours to unlock its potential for water-based tourism, and diversify tourism offerings, including a sunset-watching boat tour on Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe Canal and the Saigon River sightseeing.

Uniform infrastructure, mechanisms needed

Experts believe that the cruise industry is a cash cow for the city, helping it attract more visitors and create development opportunities for many other sectors.

Sound vehicles and marinas will make HCM City an attractive destination for international cruise visitors on the route from Singapore to Hong Kong (China), a recent survey from Thu Duc city’s yacht club revealed.

Many enterprises have proposed the city remove bottlenecks in land handover and leasing so that they can construct inland ports. They pointed out that existing tourism services fail to convince tourists to stay longer.

Exciting watersport activities held within the first river festival in Ho Chi Minh City in 2023 (Photo: VNA)

Chairman of Thu Duc city’s yacht club Pham Van Viet said that the city has around 300 yachts. However, boat registration is in choppy waters due to a relative lack of legal rules.

He suggested the city survey all inland ports to upgrade suitable sites into marinas, and pencil policies to attract public-private investment so as to bring the 80-kilometer Saigon River to its full potential.

Uniform mechanisms and infrastructure will help the city develop waterway-related services and economies, he added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nguyen Thi Hau, General Secretary of HCM City Historical Science Association, said that besides real estate projects, the development of tourism, trade and modern services along the river will highlight the river’s cultural traits.

Source: VNA