Ho Chi Minh City strives to turn around tourism sector

Many recommendations were discussed to restore Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism sector. One of the most important points is to protect travel agencies from the risk of bankruptcy while international flights have still not resumed and domestic tourism is still frozen.

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The Tet Viêt festival in Ho Chi Minh City promotes local gastronomy.


In 2021, the tourism industry of the southern mega-city expects favorable policies granted by local authorities and is considering the creation of new services and new thematic circuits in the hope of a rapid rebound.

Focus on business aid

Faced with this issue, Phan Thi Thang, vice-president of the Municipal People’s Committee, recently chaired a working session with the Municipal Department of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Transport and Communication to discuss the objectives. , missions, action programs, criteria and also the revenues of the city’s tourism sector in 2021. A number of solutions have been proposed by the city authorities, professional associations and by the competent bodies concerned.

According to Bùi Ta Hoàng Vu, director of the Municipal Department of Industry and Commerce, the southern mega-city’s greatest advantage lies in its community of businesses. Therefore, it is worth focusing on this block, remember that the routes and circuits put into operation by the city dominate those of the whole country. It is for this reason that the city should help businesses recover, according to Vu. “A first step would be to develop smart tourism, at a strategic level. For the moment, the Department of Industry and Commerce is deploying two promotion periods to stimulate purchasing power in 2021”, he informed.

“At the level of extended tourism connectivity, tourism stimulation should be put into practice while focusing on the depth and refinement of the programs, avoiding an ill-calculated extension. There should be policies of financial support given to small and medium-sized enterprises. with for example the possibilities of preferential loans “, adds Bùi Ta Hoàng Vu.

On the business community side, Nguyên Dông Hoà, deputy general manager of the Saigontourist group agrees that this year the city is not ready to welcome international tourists because of COVID-19, but it aims to develop the domestic market. He recommends that municipal authorities consider envelopes for assistance to companies in difficulty, given that in 2021 companies’ revenues will be virtually non-existent. The city’s aid should be granted to companies that have contributed to the development of the image of the city’s tourist industry.

Tourists tour downtown by pedicab in Ho Chi Minh City.


From the point of view of the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association, Lai Minh Duy, vice-president of the said association, said that at the moment it is worrying that companies are not as strong as before, they should cooperate with localities in the city to attract more tourists. “Tourists from the North and the Center are particularly interested in destinations from Ho Chi Minh City, the city must list its peak destinations, especially those of Thu Duc city and the district of Cân Gio. In particular, it is necessary that the Municipal Tourism Service and that of Industry and Commerce cooperate more closely to implement programs to purchase and connect the most interesting destinations “, Mr. Duy estimated.

Need to reform policies

According to a report from the Municipal Tourism Service, from early to mid-March 2021, some 90% of small and medium-sized tour operators specializing in tours inbound temporarily suspended their activities. For tourist guides, there are only 10% of international guides and 40-50% of national guides who still work as official employees with their contract signed by their companies, independent tourist guides have been forced to change their profession .

Nguyên Thi Anh Hoa, director of the Municipal Tourism Service admitted that the “health” of tourism businesses in Ho Chi Minh City is very poor. Without promotional measures and timely support, it will be very difficult to revive the tourism industry. In this sense, she suggested that the government continue to delay taxes and reduce taxes for businesses, including VAT and corporate income tax, help businesses access preferential loans, restructure the repayment period, reduce interest rates and maintain their debts in 2021. In addition, said service will also strengthen the promotional part.

The vice-president of the Municipal People’s Committee, Phan Thi Thang, promised to take into consideration the opinions, recommendations from the relevant departments and companies in the matter. She asked the Tourism Service and the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Association to specify the losses in the industry affected by COVID-19 so that the Municipal People’s Committee can take effective solutions by supporting businesses until at the end. The city will report the situation of the tourism sector to the government by offering it appropriate assistance envelopes to help companies come out of the crisis. In the meantime, she urged the Municipal Tourism Service to deploy new circuits, in particular highlighting eco-tourism and community tourism.

Text and photos: Truong Giang / CVN

Janelle B. Smith

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