Vietnam eyeing Sanya & Beihai for cruise tourism
The cruise ship is going to dock Chan May port. (Photo hkdisable.net
Stakeholders have proposed the central Government allocate priority funds to upgrade and build cruise ports nationwide. Halong Bay is a promising location for the north, while the central region will focus on developing infrastructure in Danang and Nha Trang.
The area near the Lotus Port in HCMC’s District 7 and Phu Quoc Island are suitable locations to accommodate the southern region, according to the experts.
The group, headed by Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), has put forth several measures to develop the country’s cruise tourism.
Firstly, Vietnam will need proper cruise ship terminals. Currently, big international cruise ships that arrive in Vietnam must anchor at cargo ports. About two-thirds of 92 international travel firms that appraised available cruise ship infrastructure in Vietnam said the facilities were average, or bad.
As a result, the experts said Vietnam should build two to three ports for cruise vessels between now and 2015.
The country needs a cruise tourism center as well. The group suggested Danang as the best location for various reasons including proximity for ships traveling from the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, America and Asia. Danang is also located on the main route between Hong Kong – a major center for cruise ship visits – and ASEAN countries.
Furthermore, the experts said that an entire system overhaul was required to develop Vietnam’s cruise tourism. Customs policies for international cruise passengers to enter the country are hindering the industry, and tourism products and marketing activities must be developed too.
They said the national tourism agency and the Government still lacked a strategic plan to develop cruise tourism.
As a result, international visitors arriving by sea ranked only about 5-6% of total foreign visitors in Vietnam from 1997-2008, and the number continues to decrease.
Experts have asked the Government to extend visiting certificates for international cruise passengers from five to nine or 11 days to give visitors enough time to visit the country.
They also asked the tourism agency to make direct marketing trips with international cruise lines to invite them to come to Vietnam.
Saigontourist Travel Service Co., and Tan Hong have about 80% market share in the cruise tourism segment. Another six companies receive ships with budget cruise passengers on the Beihai – Halong Bay and Hainan – Halong Bay routes.
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