Eastern Mekong Delta enjoys tourism boom
|Khmer Pagoda, Tra Vinh Province.|
The cluster consists of Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Long An and Dong Thap provinces. Due to the pandemic, it witnessed a significant drop in the number of visitors and was forced to temporarily close tourism services.
However, these localities have been gradually reopening, with the Lunar New Year festival in 2022 marking a booming tourism industry after a prolonged "hibernation". Holidaymakers have flocked to the localities as they gradually adapt to the new normal.
In Ben Tre, a message of safe, friendly, and quality eco-tourism has been promoted in order to revive the industry. The province has stepped up cooperation with Ho Chi Minh City and other localities, focusing on building attractive and unique tour packages.
Vinh Long, meanwhile, has actively helped tourism establishments to develop pandemic prevention and response plans and encouraged them to prepare promotion packages for the near future.
According to Director of the Tien Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Duc Dam, the province is concentrating on upgrading facilities, developing tourism products, and applying new technologies from the 4th Industrial Revolution to lure investors.
In 2022, Tien Giang aims to welcome 1.1 million tourists, doubling that of last year.
Creating a unique impression
Determining that the restoration of tourism in the ‘new normal’ is both a challenge and an opportunity, delta localities have been implementing a host of solutions to stimulate demand, restore tourism and diversify products to promote their advantages and keep pace with changes in visitors’ demands. They are also working to strengthen regional links in the expectation of launching more tours and routes and developing new products as regional highlights for tourists.
According to the Vinh Long Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the province is focusing on building and enhancing the value of its homestay, agricultural, cultural-spiritual, and craft village tourism. An Binh island in Long Ho district has two ASEAN-standard homestay facilities and one provincial-level one.
Vinh Long is in the process of turning the art of “boi” singing (classical drama) into a regular and attractive feature to enhance local tourism competitiveness.
Boasting a 32km coastline, the Tien River, and a comprehensive road and waterway transport system, Tien Giang is eyeing the development of eco-tourism in its local orchards, saltwater-freshwater-river ecological zones and the Dong Thap Muoi area.
In Ben Tre, which is considered a green island in the middle of the Mekong River, coconut-river ecotourism has always been an attractive form of local tourism. By 2030, the province targets to host at least 3.2 - 5 million visitors, of which the number of foreigners will account for nearly 50 percent.
According to Director of the Ben Tre Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Doan Van Danh, the province boasts many craft villages which make ornamental flowers, dried fish, wine and coconut candy, among others.
Promoting tourism links
In the quest to adapt in the ‘new normal’, these provinces are intensifying their connections to overcome any difficulties together, with a deal on tourism cooperation and links signed among them in early 2022.
Under the deal, they agreed to assist one another throughout the year in information-experience exchange, product-market development, and human resources training. Their collaboration also covers tourism promotion, famtrips, and technological application, among other activities.
When tourism was allowed to resume, Ben Tre coordinated with Ho Chi Minh City to serve tourism recovery and growth via a conference.
In Tien Giang, the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has worked with the tourism departments of HCM City and other provinces and cities in the Mekong Delta to survey tourist routes and destinations for the development of tours and inter-locality routes in association with investment attraction and management experience sharing.
Meanwhile, Director of the Vinh Long Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Phan Van Giau said that many cooperation deals have been sealed between Mekong Delta provinces and HCM City, creating conditions and a basis for the regional tourism industry to recover, grow and improve its product value chain.