Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism seeks to tap domestic market
Update: Aug 05, 2009
Faced with declining international arrivals, HCMC is running various promotion activities on the domestic market to attract local tourists to survive tough times.

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the city’s People’s Committee, said that the city had asked the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to combine with entrepreneurs in promoting and developing the domestic tourism.

Activities are being run to develop the domestic tourism not only to overcome difficulties facing the hospitality sector now, but to ensure long-term sustainable development as well, she said.

“We are promoting the city’s tourism to local tourists via tourism exhibitions in the city as well as via direct publicity programs in cities and provinces countrywide,” she said, adding that this was the first time the city’s tourism department and entrepreneurs had made direct marketing trips to localities to lure local travelers.

The city in the second quarter organized a tourism expo for the domestic sector. Apart from the city’s entrepreneurs as exhibitors, HCMC also invited companies and tourism authorities from other provinces to promote destinations and products there.

The international tourism expo (ITE), which will take place in HCMC next month, will also have open days for the public to explore tourism products.

Hong said that the city has held many discussions on developing the domestic tourism segment, considering it to be key in maintaining tourism growth.

In fact, the domestic sector contributed more to the city’s tourism revenue in recent months. Although the number of international visitors fell 10% in the January to July period, the tourism revenue still increased 10% owing to a surge in local tourism.

“The domestic travel segment is playing a more and more important role, especially in the decline of international tourists. We are focusing on the sector not only as a short-term measure to cope with difficulties, but also a long-term solution for tourism development,” Hong said.

Hong also said that the city now had enough hotel facilities to serve the increasing number of domestic travelers, who do not have high demands for luxury hotels like foreign guests.

“We have a big number of one- to three-star hotels for local tourists. We believe that the city will have enough hotel rooms to serve local visitors even if the number of guests increases sharply,” she said.

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said how the department and entrepreneurs were running activities to promote the city’s tourism in localities.

The department and 16 representatives of travel firms made a marketing trip to the Mekong Delta provinces of An Giang and Tien Giang. One more trip with the participation of 19 companies will be made to Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh.

“Via these trips we not only promote the city’s tourism image and products. Rather, such trips are for mutual benefits, as we also combine with provincial tourism authorities and enterprises to launch new products attractive to visitors from HCMC,” he said.

Khanh said that the cooperation program between Vietnam Airlines and the city’s tourism was bringing about good results in developing the domestic tourism. The airline has offered special prices for 30 travel companies until this September to make promotion products for local tourists.

The tourism sector will talk the railway sector into making similar promotion programs for local guests, he added.