return icon Vietnamnet.vn

Vietnam's Mekong Delta tourism needs instant refreshment


Tourism in the Mekong Delta is said to have become monotonous due to the similarities between destinations in the region.

{keywords}

The labyrinthine waterways of the Mekong Delta should be a boon to local tourism

 

 

 Industry players believe it is now compulsory to come up with new forms which focus on the ecological characteristics of the delta, so as to bring its natural advantages into full play.

For years, a same comment has been made time and again during discussions on tourism development in the Mekong Delta—that is a lack of diversity in the tourism products this region has to offer. Make a tour of several localities in the delta, it claims, and visitors will feel enough without having to explore the rest.

According to tour operators, the provinces in the Mekong Delta have similar natural conditions and terrains and all of them are not really experienced in entertaining visitors.

Even their tour programs are almost the same, all including a boat trip through canals, a visit to fruit gardens, a show of đờn ca tài tử (a genre of chamber music in the traditional music of southern Vietnam) and fish catching in ditches. The dishes tourists are served in these tours and the way they are seasoned, are the same, tour operators bemoan.

Having listened to these repeated complaints, even local tourist firms in the delta have felt uneasy. Recently, during a press conference held in HCMC to introduce the first ever forum on tourism connection between the city and the 13 localities of the Mekong Delta, some travel officials from these localities expressed their displeasure at the aforesaid comment, saying it is incomprehensive. Indeed, they argued, their tourism products are now more diverse.

For instance, they said, sea tourism in Kien Giang, wind farms and ecological shrimp in Bac Lieu, and spiritual tourism in An Giang, to name just a few. The “protesters” insisted that it would be detrimental to the delta’s tourism industry if people keep saying that their tourism products are similar.

And the fact that such negative view has been repeatedly aired on the mass media makes it more harmful, because the vilification might discourage tourists from paying a visit to Vietnam’s southern delta.

Nor is it good for localities where visitors come from, such as HCMC, as not only the Mekong Delta is in need of HCMC which brings visitors over but the city also needs the delta as a destination for visitors.

At present, travel companies, especially those in HCMC and specializing in international tourists, are greatly dependent on the Mekong Delta as the destinations for their tour programs.

Some tour operators that have gained a foothold on the U.S. and European markets say about 80% of the visitors to HCMC would travel to the Mekong Delta, with My Tho, Cai Be and Can Tho as the most popular destinations.

Those who have more time would travel on waterways from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta to Cambodia to see with their own eyes the difference in the life along the way.

In particular, although Phu Quoc Island is a favorite destination, the number of tourists traveling from HCMC to this island is modest. It is partly because the beaches there are similar to those in Nha Trang and Mui Ne in southern central Vietnam. Visitors do not really want to spend extra money on air tickets and extra time touring this island.

The delta's tropical fruit-laden gardens have great potential, but they are remained largely untapped
Recently, more tourism products and services have been introduced in efforts to make some Mekong Delta localities livelier.

Dong Thap has lured millions of tourists over with its Sa Dec flower village and mandarin orange garden. Can Tho retains visitors with community tourism in destinations like Con Son. Last but not least, Phu Quoc now has many charming resorts and entertainment areas.

However, according to experts, the differences fail to produce a turning point for the Mekong Delta’s tourism because they are still lacking highlights and fall short of really meeting the needs of tourists who want to explore more or have more fun.

A case in point is many localities believe the flood season with the impressive scenery it brings and the catch it offers has become a tourism specialty of the region. However, the new hope is luring only to some domestic visitors, whereas international tourists most of whom come to Vietnam just once can hardly tell the difference.

Some destinations like Ben Tre have attracted droves of visitors thanks to the water games that are often hosted at tourist sites. However, this is what has already been done in some other provinces like Dong Nai for a few years now. That’s why they say the new and the distinctive have not yet been found.

Regarding tourist accommodation, the lack of high-quality facilities makes it impossible for many tour operators to take their customers farther. Meanwhile, the homestay model, despite its growth, is not a wide choice. As the majority of homestay facilities are not well-invested, they can only cater to backpackers.

Natural advantages should be brought into play

What should be done to make tourism in the Mekong Delta more attractive? Travel companies believe it is first necessary to develop a transport system that enables smooth and convenient travel between the tourist destinations in the region.

Next, it is advisable to draw on tourism resources, especially water resources, to make tourism in the delta distinguishable from those of other regions.

River tours within the region or connecting to Cambodia by luxury tourist ships may be a solution for the Mekong Delta localities. There are international visitors who are willing to pay big for a few days traveling along the Mekong.

Unfortunately, not so many tourist destinations have invested in infrastructure and services along the banks and high-end watercraft for this tourist route is nowhere to be found.

Late last month, at the launch of the first four-star cruise to run on this international route, Chairman Tran Trong Kien of Thien Minh Group said the demand from international visitors is high, and the travel industry is able to address a small portion.

Therefore, in addition to the fleet of ships that run within the region, Thien Minh and their foreign partners would build nine yachts in the next five years to carry tourists back and forth between the Mekong Delta and Cambodia. 

Tourism relying on the advantages of the region, in pursuit of a friendly and nature-based business model, is another solution for tour operators in the Mekong Delta.

Some investors have succeeded in cutting the payback period by a third with decisions to stay away from concrete and adopt an eco-friendly construction style for their resorts.

By doing so, they have saved more space for their guests to come in contact with nature, enjoy the dishes whose ingredients are grown on the spot and go on tours that connect them with the local community.

A businessman specializing in operating cruise tours in HCMC has spent billions of dong providing the people in Cai Be Floating Market with dozens of boats they use to resume trading activities on the river. In addition, this entrepreneur has also given those people guidance on how to do tourism through the activities of the floating market.

“Foreigners love floating markets,” said the above businessman. “In Thailand, canals dug to make artificial floating markets and they are able to attract huge volumes of tourists. Many natural floating markets are still bustling in the Mekong Delta, but they fail to lend a hand to tourism and are gradually on the wane due to inadequate investment.”

If trading activities are combined with tours around floating markets and to the nearby craft villages, according to him, it will give birth to attractive tour programs for the region.

“Investment based on the intrinsic advantages is capable of making a difference and creating vitality for tourism,” he said. “There is no need to go a great length only to bring back the outdated models.” SGT

Dao Loan

Vietnamese tourism sector urges revision of visa regulations

Vietnamese tourism sector urges revision of visa regulations

The 14th National Assembly will debate this week some draft laws, including the law amending and supplementing some articles of the law on entry, exit, transit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam, as part of the ongoing eighth session.

Mekong Delta's bounty of riches waiting to be explored

Mekong Delta's bounty of riches waiting to be explored

Often referred to as the rice bowl of Vietnam for its emerald-green rice paddies, the Mekong Delta is an alluring region rich in unspoiled countryside and peaceful rural settlements that attract nature and culture lovers.

MORE NEWS

Vietnam demands Taiwan to cancel illegal drills in Truong Sa’s waters

Vietnam resolutely opposes and demands Taiwan (China) to cancel its live-fire exercises in the waters around Ba Binh island that belongs to Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly), Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang stated on December 2.

Make-in-Vietnam cameras have high security, satisfy standards

Make in Vietnam camera manufacturers are enhancing security capability and satisfying requirements on information security set by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) for devices such as cameras and Internet of Things (IoT).

Government plans to rearrange state-owned enterprises till 2025

Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai has signed a decision approving a plan of rearrangement of state-owned enterprises for the period of 2022-2025 in the form of one-member limited company, equitization, re-arrangement and divestment.

Transport Ministry urges new ship channel for large vessels in Mekong Delta

The Ministry of Transport has urged Tra Vinh Province to implement compensation payment for site clearance and resettlement support to build a new ship channel for large vessels in the Hau River.

Toan retains WBA Asia belt against Amparo in Bangkok

Le Huu Toan successfully defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) Asia minimum-weight (48kg) belt during The Challenger event on November 30 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Billions of dollars from foreigners invested in Vietnam’s enterprises

Foreign capital keeps flowing into Vietnam through many different channels, helping investors regain their confidence in the stock market and the economy.

Urban areas, parks to be built on Red River alluvium grounds

Hanoi authorities plan to build new urban areas and eco-friendly housing, and develop open space with parks, urban squares and flood parks on thousands of hectares on the alluvium grounds of the Red River area.

Target of 1 million social housing units difficult to reach

The goal of developing 1 million social housing units may not be feasible.

Ministry to control rice import management

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) fears the high level of rice imports and the failure to control imports will affect domestic production.

Gambling soars during World Cup

Football betting is taking place in the open air at venues where people gather to watch World Cup matches, or quietly online.

Michelin Guide to announce first Vietnamese restaurant selections

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been selected by Michelin as the latest destinations joining the international selection, as compiled by the Michelin Guide.

Ministry to crack down on Internet ads violations

The Ministry of Information and Communications held a conference in Hanoi on November 30 to roll out Internet advertising management measures.

Seven-day Tet holiday fixed for State employees

Officials, civil servants, public employees and workers of State administrative and socio-political organisations will enjoy a seven-day Lunar New Year (Tet) and four-day National Day holidays next year.

Vietnam has opportunity for energy transition towards green growth

Vietnam boasts substantial potential for wind power, particularly offshore wind power, providing an opportunity for the country to fulfill its energy transition target towards green growth.

PM requests combined efforts to combat IUU fishing

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called for concerted efforts to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing while chairing a teleconference with 28 coastal provinces and cities on December 1.
back_to_top