Boat tours in HCM City lack passengers

Boat tours along Ho Chi Minh City’s canals, which were expected to boost water tourism, have failed to attract tourists because of a lack of facilities and waste discharge in waterways.

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Boat tours along HCM City’s canals, which were expected to boost water tourism in the city, have failed to attract tourists.

Poorly developed docking berths, inadequate tourist services along the banks of rivers and boat stations, and high tour fares are also reasons for the lack of passengers.

To attract visitors, Saigon Boat Co Ltd, the investor of rowboat tours along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, has sent a proposal to the city’s Department of Transportation to allow the company to invest more in boat stations and facilities along the canal, such as parking lots, public toilets and waiting rooms.

However, areas for construction of onshore projects serving tourists are all public land belonging to the corridor of river and canal protection. In order to use this land, investors must carry out legal procedures for renting land, according to the Department of Transportation.

The department is coordinating with other departments and People's Committees of districts to develop an investment policy which is expected to be submitted to the HCM City People's Committee in the fourth quarter of this year.

Besides the lack of facilities, pollution and waste discharged by local residents are also the problems.

The boat tour, launched in 2016, received positive feedback from foreign tourists, but waste should be removed from the canals, the Saigon Boat Co Ltd said.

Also, illegal fishing along the canal has affected the operation of boats.

Earlier this year, a boat carrying tourists broke a fishing line belonging to a group of people who were fishing illegally. The fishermen chased the vessel and threw stones at the passengers. No one was injured but the boat sustained light damage, according to the Saigon Boat Co Ltd.

A shortage of lights is another problem, forcing boats to stop operating after dark.

VNA