While Vietnam welcomed in 2018 over 15.5 million visitors, Ho Chi Minh City stands as the most visited destination in the country. Last year, the former Saigon received 7.5 million international tourists and 29 million domestic tourists. “This represents a respective increase of 17.38% and 16% over 2017,” tells The Truong Hien Hoa, Director of Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Center.
The central role played by HCMC in Vietnam is due first to the excellent air connections linking the metropolis to the rest of the world. Than Son Nhat Airport, which is Vietnam’s busiest air gateway with 38 million passengers in 2018, is linked to over 20 domestic destinations as well as 50 international destinations.
The city wants to be the gateway to tourism and is positioned as a “Safe – Attractive – Friendly” Destination.
It is also developing a range of new products to facilitate both visitors and travel professionals to promote better the Southern Vietnam metropolis. Last year a QR code application has been put in front of HCMC most iconic monuments, providing information in both Vietnamese and English about the history and the use of each marked sightseeing.
As the city is celebrating this year the 325th anniversary of its creation, eight new circuits are being created following thematics such as tours over the old French city or over the Vietnam war. “We are going, for example, to regularly open the old Saigon City Hall to visitors. The hall has been rarely opened to visitors despite its historical value and beautiful interiors,” explained Le Truong Hien Hoa. Other tours explore gastronomy with visits to local markets, ecotourism at Vam Sat or the Vietnam War with the War Museum, the Cu Chi tunnels and the Rung Sac military base. Tours are priced between VND 400,000 and VND 2,1 million (USD 17 to USD 90).
Another important tourism field that the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Center wants to focus on is medical tourism. The metropolis attracts every year half of the 80,000 international travellers seeking medical treatment. “The cost of care in Ho Chi Minh City represents 40% of the costs that are charged in other countries in the region,” adds the director of the tourist office.
A good opportunity for the tourism trade to learn more about HCMC tourism products is to participate at the International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC 2019). The 15th edition of ITE HCMC 2019 will take place from September 5 to 7, 2019 at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC).