Friday, April 6, 2012

Vietnam expects a bumper cruise tourism season in 2012

More and more cruises heading for Vietnam

The first months of 2012 were a busy time for travel firms which received a lot of international cruises to Can Tho, HCM City, Khanh Hoa and Quang Ninh provinces.

In January 2012 alone, Vietnam received 19 international cruises and 12 river steamers of the world’s leading shipping firms Costa Classica, SuperStar, Aquarius and Indochine, which brought thousands of international travelers bearing British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Australian, Japanese and Chinese nationalities.

In February 2012, the five star Costa Classica five times docked at the Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province, bringing 10,000 travelers. Vu Duy Vu, Deputy General Director of Saigontourist, has said that the travel firm would receive a lot of high grade cruises this month, including Europa, Spirit Of Adventure, Columbus, Saga Ruby and Amadea.

Ha Long Bay is one of the most favorite destinations for cruise travelers. They like going on sightseeing tour of Ha Long Bay, visiting Hon Gai Market, Yen Tu Temple, enjoying water puppetry and Vietnamese traditional cultural programs.

Prior to that, in the last months of 2011, the Ha Long Bay received more than 51,000 travelers. It is expected that the number of cruise travelers to Vietnam in 2012 would increase by 30 percent. 

Besides Ha Long, Nha Trang and Vung Tau would also be the destinations of cruises. In November 2011, the Sun Princess with 2000 travelers docked at the sea cities to discover the beauty of Vietnamese beaches, while promising to return in 2012.

Costa Classica, Costa Romantica, SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, Princess Daphne, Amadea, Pacific Venus, Europa and Bremen all have expressed their bigger interest in Vietnam by signing long term contracts, or regularly organize the trips to Vietnam with increasingly high number of travelers.

In order to attract more travelers and satisfy their requirements, travel firms have been upgrading their services. Travelers not only can admire the beauty of Vietnam’s beaches, but they can also join the itineraries to learn about Vietnamese traditional culture, go to the countryside, where they can learn more about the life of local residents.

Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that in the overall program on developing Vietnam’s tourism until 2020, now awaiting for the government approval, developing sea and island tourism, building large scale marine tourism complexes competitive to other regional countries is a key issue.

Vietnam urged to grab the golden opportunity

According to Nguyen Thi Minh Thu, Director of Mekong Tourism Company, a lot of cruises only stay for a short time in Vietnam, while some others consider Vietnam as a transit port only. 

Therefore, the thing that Vietnam should do now is to join forces with partners to upgrade basic infrastructure items, upgrade service quality and design original tours, in order to persuade travelers to stay for a long time in Vietnam or return for the second and subsequent time.

Saigontourist is planning to build marinas at the famous sea tourism sites, so that cruises can more easily dock at the ports. The travel firm is now calling for investment into the amusement and marina complex in Nha Be district. The project, estimated to cover an area of 10 hectares, has the investment capital of 64 million dollars.

The project would comprise of a 15 storey building, 300 hotel rooms and apartments, 15 villas and marina.