VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam should invest more in infrastructure, cruise terminal facilities as well as shore itineraries and develop unique tourism products to tap its cruise tourism potential.
Stunning: A cruise stops at the Ha Long International Cruise Port, the first specialised passenger port in Vietnam that just opened in late November in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province. — VNS Photos Hong Van
The statement was made by Vice Chairman of Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Ngo Hoai Chung at a seminar on cruise tourism, held in the northern province of Quang Ninh yesterday.
Cruise tourism has been the fastest growing sector of the travel industry for the past few years globally. Often chosen by wealthy people, cruise tourism can make a significant economic impact for the locality.
“Sea and island tourism, which includes cruise tourism, is considered one of the priorities in the tourism development strategy of Vietnam,” said Chung.
Vietnam has numerous advantages to become an attractive cruise tourism destination with its location in the centre of Southeast Asia, some 3,200 km of coast, more than 3,000 beautiful islands and diverse and unique culture, said Chung.
However, Vietnam has not witnessed any considerate uplift in cruise tourism development.
In the first 11 months of 2018, Vietnam welcomed more than 400,000 cruise tourists, accounting for only 2 to 3 per cent of total international tourists.
All aboard: To make Vietnam a viable cruise destination, the country should improve its itineraries, cruise facilities and shore excursions, said Ahmad Kamal Bin Abdollah, manager of Cruise Port Development of the NV Terminals in Malaysia.
The growth rate of cruise tourist numbers to Vietnam is relatively low compared to the total number of tourists and has even decreased some years.
Vietnam still faces challenges including a poor seaport system, substandard cruise terminal facilities, bad infrastructure, unattractive tourism products and a lack of long-term action plans to attract cruise tourists, according to Chung.
The seminar was held by the VNAT to connect travel agencies and cruise lines, exchange experience in cruise tourism development and propose solutions to develop cruise tourism. It attracted more than 100 participants including representatives from Departments of Tourism of provinces, Departments of Border Gate, the Ministry of Transport, international cruise lines and Vietnamese travel agencies.
To make Vietnam a viable cruise destination, the country should improve its itineraries, cruise facilities and shore excursions, said Ahmad Kamal Bin Abdollah, manager of Cruise Port Development of the NV Terminals in Malaysia.
“The various destinations within Vietnam have a solid mix of excursion offerings. The challenge remains in developing new facilities at these destinations and where such facilities are not optimal, improving the overall experience such that the inconvenience is minor and the rewards are great,” said Abdollah.
Vu Duy Vu from Saigontourist suggested visa procedures be simplified and made more flexible for cruise tourists.
The VNAT should also attend more international cruise fairs and seminars to promote Vietnam’s cruise tourism, learn from the international experience and stay updated on global trends, he added.