|Participants at the international conference
The event was attended by representatives from the city leaders, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Vietnam Tourism Association, cruises and travel agents.
According to Nguyen Xuan Binh, Vice Director of the municipal Department of Tourism, Da Nang has become a destination for both domestic and foreign tourists thanks to its location near world cultural heritages, diverse tourism products and port system which can serve international cruise ships.
An increasing number of tourists from Australia, China, Germany, Spain, and the UK have come to Da Nang city and the Central Highlands region on famous cruise ships like Star Cruises, Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Dream Cruises and Holland America Cruises, among others.
In 2012, 57 foreign cruise ships docked at Da Nang ports, carrying 52,570 tourists to the city. Five years later, the city welcomed nearly 87,800 tourists on 74 cruise liners. Particularly, Tien Sa port greeted 75 ships with 94,000 visitors on board in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 25 liners and 62% in the number of visitors from the same time in 2017, he added.
However, Da Nang city can lose out on cruise tourism if there is no special facility for cruise liners, experts said, given that local ports are currently too busy to receive container ships while the city lacks special stations for sea travellers to do their immigration procedures.
In addition, local tourism products are not attractive enough to foreign visitors to lengthen their stay in the city. Many liners dock at Da Nang in only 1-2 days or even leave after a couple of hours.
Ha Bich Lien, advisor at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said that a modern cruise ship can carry nearly 6,000 passengers, 70% of whom will make calls to famous tourist attractions in the locality. Thus, besides fascinating tourism packages designed for the visitors, entertainment activities should be available for those who stay in the ship.
The Asian region is witnessing strong growth in cruise tourism, posing both opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese tourism sector, Truong Thi Thu Huong from the VNAT’s Department of Travel said, adding that the sector is facing a fierce competition in luring foreign visitors as well as difficulties in developing facilities to welcome large and modern ships.
Da Nang city should work to build special ports for cruise ships, diversify tourism products, and improve service quality to shoot to stardom as a renowned destination for cruise travellers, she noted.