Unlocking HCMC’s river tourism potential
Update: Feb 16, 2024
HCMC has long seen the potential of river tourism as a key driver for boosting tourism revenue, yet this potential remains largely untapped despite efforts to develop the sector. The Saigon River, the city’s main waterway, offers a unique blend of urban life and tranquility along its banks, presenting a promising canvas for tourism.

Saigon River Bus Station is situated next to HCMC's iconic Landmark 81 - Photo: The Ky

Dr. Jackie Ong, RMIT Senior Program Manager of the Tourism and Hospitality Management program, said, “This rich tapestry of experiences offers visitors a unique prism, allowing them a fleeting escape from the urban hustle and a glimpse into the tranquil facet of the city’s character that often remains concealed.”

However, challenges loom over HCMC’s river tourism ambitions, as noted by Dr. Daisy Kanagasapapathy, RMIT Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Heightened awareness is crucial, as historical landmarks often overshadow the intricate waterways. Concerns about water quality, sanitation, and safety further deter potential tourists, compounded by limited access to riverside attractions.

Comparing with Thailand’s thriving river tourism, Kanagasapapathy emphasizes the fusion of culture and nature, including attractions like floating markets and riverside temples showcasing the country’s rich cultural heritage against the backdrop of its natural beauty. This is supported by robust infrastructure and effective marketing.

Drawing from Thailand’s success, she proposes strategies for HCMC to unlock its river tourism potential.

Firstly, weaving history, culture, and nature into the fabric of river tourism crafts a tapestry of profound enrichment. Secondly, ensuring modern and accessible infrastructure provides seamless interactions with the city’s waterways, while involving local communities nurtures authenticity and sustains a growth trajectory. Thirdly, a comprehensive global marketing strategy becomes a dynamic catalyst, heightening the allure of river tourism for domestic explorers and international adventurers alike.

By leveraging its waterways, HCMC can offer travelers a captivating journey through its history, culture, and natural beauty, akin to the allure of Thailand’s river tourism. With concerted efforts, HCMC can realize its vision of becoming a vibrant river tourism destination.

Saigon Times - english.thesaigontimes.vn - February 15, 2024