More efforts needed to tap cruise ship potential

April 11, 2023 | 16:11
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Vietnam was home to a thriving cruise ship tourist market in the first quarter this year with a spike in the number of international cruise ship visitors, yet more efforts are needed to take full advantage of the industry.

According to the General Statistics Office, international cruise ship tourists to Vietnam surged more than 2.8-fold compared to the previous month.

In the first quarte, this figure soared 936.3 times to exceed 33,700 tourists.

A representative from Saigontourist, a major travel firm, said that in Q1 the company continuously hailed and served visitors and cruise ships of different global cruise ship firms, including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, TUI Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Azamara Cruises, and others.

More efforts needed to tap cruise ship potential
International cruise ship tourists at Halong Bay in Quang Ninh

During March 1-8, Saigontourist oversaw four foreign cruise ships landing in Vietnam with more than 4,200 visitors from different countries.

This set a record in 2023 in the density of international cruise ships docked at Vietnamese ports, marking the strong rebound of inbound travel.

Khanh Hoa has become one of the most appealing venues for international cruise ship visitors. From now until the year-end, about 20 international cruise ships are expected to make landfalls in Nha Trang, according to the Maritime Administration of Nha Trang.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, director of Tourism Development Research Institute, said that Vietnam’s green sector has ample potential to attract high-paying visitors as the country has a favourable position in regional maritime shipping routes.

Vietnam possesses 3,260km coastline, spotted with more than 4,000 islands, rock fields, beautiful bays and beaches, and the strong presence of deepwater ports, allows big vessels to dock near-shore.

“In the past years, cruise ship travel has seen a robust development, contributing to facilitating tourism development and upscaling status in the global market,” Tuan said.

Vietnam's tourism development strategy for the next decade has set sea and island tourism at the top priority.

However, it is difficult to tap cruise ship travel's immense potential due to the roadblocks related to marina infrastructure, weak and insufficient human resources, and unfocused marketing.

For instance, from 2019 until present, cruise ships have to dock at Phu My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, then take bus trips to travel more than 60km to Ho Chi Minh City amid frequent and heavy traffic jams.

Lim Jiun Yan, managing director at Resorts World Cruises Singapore, noted that cruise ship tourists often have to close the date of leasing a quay a year before. Hence, it is necessary for target destinations, like Vietnam, to make clear where are docking places and associated fees, avoiding making changes in the final minutes, which causes difficulties for both ship firms and visitors.

Besides infrastructure, hailing cruise ships and associated tourists is often time-consuming with cumbersome procedures, and the number of firms capable of providing services for cruise ship tourists remains modest.

To effectively tap cruise ship travel's immense potential, Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Travel Association, has proposed forming coastal tourism routes and from there creating new distinct products for each locality.

It is also important to strongly develop inland port systems capable of receiving cruise ships, open ocean resorts with good infrastructure, thereby attracting tourists to Vietnam by cruise ships more and more.

Khanh Hoa adjusts transport rules to welcome cruise ship tourists Khanh Hoa adjusts transport rules to welcome cruise ship tourists

Khanh Hoa People's Committee has removed the transport bottlenecks to bring more cruise ship tourists to the locality.

Overnight cruise ship service piloted in Nha Trang Bay Overnight cruise ship service piloted in Nha Trang Bay

The south central province of Khanh Hoa has just approved a new tourist service: an overnight cruise ship in Nha Trang Bay.

Da Nang welcomes first international cruise ship after COVID-19 hiatus Da Nang welcomes first international cruise ship after COVID-19 hiatus

French-flagged cruise ship Le Lape'rouse with over 200 foreign holidaymakers aboard docked at Tien Sa port on October 9, becoming the first of its kind to visit the central coastal city of Da Nang after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

By Hanh Thuy

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