|A cruise ship docks at Tien Sa Port in Da Nang. Photo acquired by VnExpress.
Da Nang welcomed 64,632 sea travelers in the first half of this year, a two percent year-on-year increase. Of these, 39,594 were Chinese (down 24 percent y-o-y) and 25,030 were Europeans and Americans (122 percent rise).
Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of Da Nang Tourism Department, told local press that both the department and enterprises were exploiting diverse markets, especially Europe and America, with promotion tours, because tourists from these continents were typically high spenders.
Many private companies like Saigontourists, Pacific Legend and Destination Asia have built their own travel programs to attract cruise tourists, he said.
While ports in Vietnam have received both cargo and passenger ships earlier, that latter was always considered a less important service. Port operators have always assigned top priority to revenues from services such as loading, unloading, shipping and storage.
Dr. Ha Bich Lien, a consultant for the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in Vietnam, has attributed this to the lack of anchorage as a result of cargo ships fully occupying the port. This hurt cruise tourism, leading to a decline in customer numbers at travel agencies offering this service.
However, Da Nang, a coastal city in central Vietnam, is now trying to elevate its Tien Sa Port to become a specialized port for tourism.
It is expected that in the second half of the year, the number of seagoing passengers will reach more than 70,000, with nearly 40 cruise ships arriving at the port.
The Da Nang administration has focused on investing in developing places of interest and entertainment like the Museum of Cham Sculpture, Da Nang Museum, Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills; as well as services like golf courses and shopping centers and sea sports. Tourists, therefore, have a variety of products and services to choose.