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HCMC to launch overnight cruises on Saigon River to boost waterway tourism


Skyscrapers along the Saigon River in downtown HCMC is seen from a water bus at night. Photo courtesy of HCMC Department of Tourism

HCMC tourism authorities plan to launch overnight cruise vessels with 100-200 cabins on the Saigon River starting next year.

The city Department of Tourism expects waterway tourism to attract 1.5 million people by 2025 and grow at 10-15% annually.

It also hopes revenues from waterway tourism will reach VND3 trillion by 2025.

City authorities also plan to launch small wooden boats capable of carrying 10-50 passengers to historical sites, traditional craft villages and temples.

A floating market will be started beneath the Tan Thuan Bridge between Districts 7 and 4 on Saturdays and Sundays. Here local vendors will sell a wide variety of products to visitors from their boats like at some famous markets on the Mekong River.

Experts said the Saigon River has the potential to be as iconic as the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Huangpu River in Shanghai or the Moskva River in Russia, but the city has not made the most of it.

The number of waterway passengers decreased from 845,000 in 2018 to 297,000 in 2020 due to limited tourism infrastructure and pollution.