ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
HCM tourism rises, so do problems
Although the number of foreign tourist arrivals rose by 10 percent in the first seven months of 2011, the HCM City tourism industry has been facing challenges. Deputy Director of HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism La Quoc Khanh and Nguyen Van My, director of Lua Viet Travel Company spoke with Le Hung Vong and Thuy Ha about these issues.
In the first seven months of 2011, the tourism industry attained sustainable growth, welcoming a total of 1,856,000 foreign visitors, a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent, accounting for 55 per-cent of foreign tourist arrivals in Vietnam in the same period.
Meanwhile, the number of local travelers on overseas tours rose sharply in the same period. More than 485,000 Vietnamese travelers from HCM City and southern provinces took tours to overseas destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and China via Tan Son Nhat Airport, up by 30 percent compared with last year.
With average room rental of US$94 per night, three-to-five-star hotels in the city attained occupancy rates of 70 percent, a year-on-year increase of 6 per cent, and 10 percent higher than the occupancy rates of the same standard hotels at major tourist centres across the country.
The city's tourism sector attained total revenues of VND26.264 trillion (US$1.25 billion), up by 24 percent compared with the same period last year, accounting for 54 per cent of the year's target.
To achieve these goals, the city has developed a waterway tourism development programme; the "HCM City – 100 Interesting Things" initiative; a programme to build standard tourist services; and a programme to build arts performances and shows as tourist services.
In the first six months of this year, the number of tourists bothered by souvenir sellers, beggars, dishonest taxi drivers or attacked by robbers was on the rise. This is a big problem because it tarnishes the images of HCM City, and at the same time frightens tourists and makes the tourism environment less competitive.
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