Tourist Services to be Improved in the Mekong Delta Region

Vietnam, Mekong Delta, strategy,

The number of tourists to the Mekong Delta has increased significantly as many tourism boosting programmes have been successful over the last year, according to provincial authorities. Many attractions in the Mekong Delta have registered a high number of visitors since the beginning of the year.

The Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in Đồng Tháp Province reported that the province welcomed 110,000 arrivals in October, up 25 per cent year-on-year. This brought the number of arrivals to 2.5 million in the first 10 months, up 24 per cent year-on-year. Tràm Chim National Park, Nguyễn Sinh Sắc and Xẻo Quýt relic sites were among the popular attractions.

To boost tourism, the province is also now promoting ecotourism by creating tours to local fruit gardens. Nguyễn Ngọc Thương, director of the provincial Culture, Sports, and Tourism Department, said that development plans, including better infrastructure and effective promotion campaigns, had brought about positive changes to the tourism sector.

Around 5.3 million tourists visited Cần Thơ Province in the first eight months of the year, up 43 per cent year-on-year, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The department aims to attract 5.5 million arrivals and earn VNĐ2 trillion ($88 million) this year.

Since Kiên Giang has the most tourism potential in the Delta, the province in recent years has been a hotspot for investment, with 274 ongoing tourism projects on 7,690 ha of land, worth VNĐ231 trillion (US$10 billion). Trần Chí Dũng, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said that investors had been eyeing Phú Quốc Island, with 218 tourism projects on 6,445ha of land, worth VNĐ222 trillion ($9.7 billion). About 30 projects had been carried out on the island so far. The province has called for investments to upgrade its infrastructure and build airports, seaports and roads.

Between 2013 and June 2017, Kiên Giang Province drew 20.4 million tourists, of whom 1.1 million were international visitors. In 2016, the province had 5.6 million arrivals. From that number, 309,700 visitors came from abroad. Tourists generated a total of VNĐ3.67 trillion ($158 million) in revenue. The province targets more than six million arrivals this year.

The Mekong Delta is generally attracting more local visitors compared to other parts of Vietnam south and north central coastal areas of Việt Nam. They are however differences between the different provinces forming the Mekong Delta. While foreigners to Tiền Giang and Bến Tre provinces accounted for 50 per cent of the total number of international tourists, local visitors to An Giang Province made up one-third of total local tourists.

The Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism said that tourism in the Mekong Delta had gained more recognition, but that it should have been better. Due to the lack of diverse tourism products, international tourists typically spend an average 1.95 day and local visitors an average 1.7 day in the region. Phạm Vũ Hồng, chairman of Kiên Giang Province People’s Committee, said that to meet the demand of visitors, the province would expand the airport, improve power systems and upgrade infrastructure, and complete them before the deadlines. But he said it was also important to invest in more tourism products to extend visitors’ length of stay.

The secretary of Đồng Tháp Province’s Party Committee, Lê Minh Hoan, said that Đồng Tháp, Tiền Giang and Long An provinces had collaborated with HCM City to create a tour called Một Hành Trình Ba Điểm Đến (A journey to three destinations). Starting from HCM City to Long An, Tiền Giang, and Đồng Tháp provinces, tourists will be able travel to Tân Lập Floating Village, an ecotourism site, the Đồng Tháp Mười Ecological Reservation Area, and Tràm Chim National Bird Park, among other attractions.

The Mekong Delta Tourism Association has also urged local provinces not to copy each other’s tourism products as all of them have similar conditions for tourism. Tourism experts said that Cần Thơ City and Phú Quốc Island should be key destinations, while Mỹ Tho City could play a support role for tourism in the eastern area of the Mekong Delta.

(Source: Vietnam News Service)