Ho Chi Minh City recovers domestic travel with closed tours

VOV.VN - Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism sector has reopened after months of social distancing and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After the success of intra-city and intra-province tours, inter-province tours are now being offered on the “bubble tourism” model and are receiving a positive response from tourists.

On October 21, more than 100 people, including frontline pandemic workers and Ho Chi Minh City officials, joined a pilot closed tour to Cu Chi-Tay Ninh operated by the Saigontourist company.

The tour, which left HCM City at 5:30 am and arrived in Cu Chi district at 7 am, included an incense offering at the Sai Gon-Cho Lon-Gia Dinh Revolution Memorial Complex, a visit to Ben Duoc temple, which was built to commemorate soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives during the anti-American and French resistance wars, and a visit to the Ben Duoc tunnel relic site.

The tourists, most of them from the North, visited the open-air market and enjoyed local specialties such as peanuts and cassava with coconut cream.

After Cu Chi, they continued their tour to Tay Ninh where they ascended Ba Den Mountain by cable car, visited Linh Son Tien Thach pagoda, admired a statue of the Lady Buddha, the tallest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam, at the top of Ba Den mountain,  and gazed down at Dau Tieng lake, the largest artificial lake in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Nguyen Quang Minh of Lai Chau province’s Health Department, which supported Ho Chi Minh City for 3 months during the COVID-19 fight, said this was an unforgettable experience for him.

"This is the first time I’ve visited Cu Chi and Tay Ninh. The landscape is splendid and the air is so fresh. We hope everything will soon go back to normal, so visitors can feel free to visit those beautiful places," said Minh.

Dr. Hoang Ngoc Cuong from Military Hospital 175, said, "I think this model is perfect. It enables visitors to revisit the site of the revolution and enjoy some splendid scenery."

After this pilot tour, Saigontourist plans to open more tours designed for individuals and families with a package-tour price starting at US$43. The tours must strictly follow all pandemic regulations, and all participants must be fully vaccinated and test negative for the coronavirus.

Mr. Tran Quoc Bao, Deputy Director of Saigontourist, said the tours follow the “bubble tourism” model, which means most of the activities are outdoors at ecotourism destinations in Cu Chi and Tay Ninh.

"Between now and the Lunar New Year, we’ll closely monitor the provinces and cities that are reopening after COVID-19, and will open tours to provinces that have successfully contained the pandemic. We expect these tours to get a strong response after such a long period of travel restrictions," said Bao.