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HCM City eyes long-distance river tour to Cambodia

The HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will conduct a survey on a long-distance river tour from Bach Dang Wharf in the city’s District 1 to Cambodia, as the short-distance tours have started to get customers.

Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Travel Division under the department, said his agency is making a specific plan to submit to the HCMC government. The department expects to have kicked off the survey by the end of this year.

“The earlier-opened river tours such as Bach Dang-District 2, Bach Dang-Can Gio and Can Gio-Phu My have begun to attract customers. We will continue to launch more tours under the plan to develop river tourism in HCMC,” said Anh.

Developing river tourism is one of the key plans of HCMC, with the focus laid on Can Gio. The city last year opened the short-distance river tour from Bach Dang Wharf to Ham Long Artisan Village in District 2, followed by the Bach Dang-Can Gio route.

Several tours connecting the city to Dong Nai and Binh Duong have also been studied. Above all, the tour from Can Gio to Phu My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau is the most notable with a series of marketing activities, building cruise ships and kayaks to lure international tourists.

Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions, said since the river tour was piloted in November 2011, his company has sold Can Gio mangrove forest tours and kayaking tours to some 1,000 foreign visitors on board the German cruise ships that drop anchors at Phu My Port. It takes only 15 minutes for tourists to travel from Phu My to Can Gio by river, but no enterprise considered developing this route before.

“Cruise ship passengers are really excited about the new form of tourism in Can Gio. Previously, we organized only one trip to Can Gio a day, but now the cruise liners demand one more. We have started to sell this tour to U.S. cruise ships,” said the director.

Viet Excursions has joined hands with the management board of Can Gio Biosphere Reserve to develop infrastructure and train staff for the river tour. The tour operator has bought 30 kayaks and built one river cruise ship, while its partner has also built a ship to take tourists to the mangrove forest.

“River tours are appealing to international visitors. If HCMC continues to promote this tourism route further by developing ports for river cruise ships, the city will have an attractive type of tourism,” said Xuan Anh.


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