Cruise tourism dogged by poor ports, rules
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam has huge potential for cruise tourism, but the sector is underdeveloped, with a lack of ports and services.
Celebrity Century in Hue City
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said there were nearly eight million international arrivals last year, of which 170,000 came by cruise ships.
The Saigontourist Co said it had conducted two trips to Danang and Hoi An on the SuperStar Virgo cruise ship since the beginning of this year and would hold more trips in January.
Vo Anh Tai, a director of Saigontourist, said local ports lacked services, from toilets to duty free shopping.
Phan Xuan Anh, a consultant to Tan Hong Tourism Co, said that with its long coastal line, Vietnam had huge potential for cruise tourism, but infrastructure needed to be improved.
"Almost everyday, there are new ships arriving at Ha Long Bay but since it doesn't have interesting products or services, visitors rarely return," he said.
Many tourism firms said customs procedures needed to be simpler to improve competitiveness of local firms.
The authorities should open a website to update new policies in relation to cruise ships and the tourism sector. Many cruise lines said they were ready to collaborate with tourism firms to upgrade or build new ports.
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