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|Unique sights: Foreign tourists visit Thien Hau Temple in HCM City’s District 5. - VNS Photo Thu Hang|
The city would add to its cultural and tourism events, attractions, and unique experiences to attract visitors, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of the department, said.
New products the department plans to launch this year include river tourism, cuisine tourism, rural tourism and leisure tourism products as well as light art and street art festivals, he told a meeting last Thursday.
As the country’s economic and financial hub, the city has identified various opportunities for developing tourism, he said.
But tourism promotion spending per visitor to the city is a mere US$0.3 compared to the global average of $5, he said.
He called on the city authority to hike the tourism promotion budget to grow the sector.
The budget should focus on some of the key segments the city has huge opportunities to develop such as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism, dental tourism and river tourism, he added.
Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the target of six million foreign arrivals to the city is achievable.
But to fulfill the target, the department cannot act alone and hopes to establish strong partnerships with industries, district authorities and tourism-related businesses, he said.
Only with such combined efforts can the opportunities to develop the tourism sector be grasped, he said.
He said river tourism is a priority area of focus for the tourism sector.
He also proposed developing Binh Dien, Thu Duc and Hoc Mon retail markets as new tourist destinations.
Every district should promote its typical tourism attractions like District 5 does with its traditional medicine street and District 1 with its walking street, he said
The number of visitors to the city this year has topped 500,000, an increase of more than 70,000 compared to the same period last year, he added.