“This meant we could capture the whole spirit and beauty of the thriving metropolis bursting with energy,” said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department.
The city has a beautiful location and a great climate for tourists. Its waterways mean it has much eco-tourism potential and the diversity of the cuisine is second to none.
Despite increasing competition from strong neighbours such as Bangkok and Singapore, Vietnam is seeing tourism grow. One reason for this is the host of new direct routes to Tan Son Nhat airport as well as the proliferation of nearby golf tours.
As the largest economic hub in the south, Ho Chi Minh City also has great potential to become the leading destination of Meeting Incentive Conference Event (MICE) tourism in Southeast Asia.
Despite its many advantages, Ho Chi Minh City faces many obstacles to tourism development. For instance, traffic jams are worsening which leads to ever more noise and pollution.
Robbery and the fleecing of tourists are also major concerns. Moreover, there is no cooperation between the city’s travel agents and tour guides are often not adept at foreign languages.
Figures from CBRE Vietnam reveal that Ho Chi Minh City is now home to more than 165 three-five star hotels making a total of over 17,000 rooms.
What’s more, two big names just joined the market: the 345 room Le Meridien Saigon and the 168 room Hotel Des Arts Saigon – Mgallery Collection.
Le Meridien is one of the nine lifestyle brands of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a leader in the hospitality industry that operates more than 1,200 properties in more than 100 countries.
Meanwhile, Hotel des Arts Saigon is a member of the MGallery Collection managed by Accor Hotels.
More tours are also being created, including those to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, a wetland located 40 kilometres southeast of Ho Chi Minh City which has been listed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Other tours to traditional villas such as those making honey and rice pancakes are on offer, as well as tours to floating villages and night fish markets.
Visa free stays
In order to attract more international tourists to the country, the Vietnamese Government has removed the requirement for visas for citizens of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Currently, Vietnam also offers visa free stays for those from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Belarus.
Citizens from the nine ASEAN nations can also stay with no visa, while international visitors to Phu Quoc island may stay visa-free for 30 days.