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Mekong Delta needs further coordination to boost tourism



Ho Chi Minh City and 13 cities and provinces of the Mekong Delta need to strongly promote regional coordination in diversifying tourism products and developing new tourism models in a bid to become an attractive destination for tourists, Vice Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Thi Thang has said.

Mekong Delta needs further coordination to boost tourism hinh anh 1Ba Ngan Floating Market in Nga Bay town in Hau Giang province is crowded with boats selling fruits ahead of the Lunar New Year. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City – Ho Chi Minh City and 13 cities and provinces of the Mekong
Delta need to strongly promote regional coordination in diversifying tourism
products and developing new tourism models in a bid to become an attractive
destination for tourists, Vice Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan
Thi Thang has said.

The Mekong
Delta, which was identified as one of the seven tourist regions of the country,
has rich tourism resources, with over 28,000 km of canals, a diverse ecosystem,
and unique cultural values. As a result, it boasts great potential to become an
important resort destination in the southern region.

tourism development in the Mekong Delta remains very modest compared to other
tourist areas in the country.

efforts to lure visitors to the region, tourism products in the Mekong Delta
are not diverse and attractive.

provinces in the region have similar tourism products, confusing tourists when
they choose a destination for their travel.

Tran Anh Thu,
Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of An Giang province, said tourists
usually chose the first destination in HCM City, the international gateway to
the region, and then the second destination as sea tourism in the central
region or Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang province or river tourism in the Mekong

Thu said
tourism products in the Mekong Delta were less attractive to tourists,
especially international visitors.

gardens in Tien Giang somehow bring the same experience to tourists when they
travel to Vinh Long and Ben Tre, according to the official. Likewise, cultural
tourism in Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, and Soc Trang is similar to that in An Giang,
and eco-tourism in Dong Thap, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Long An, and Ben Tre is not

He added
that each locality needed to develop its unique tourism products and establish
promotion links to develop regional tour packages to lure tourists.


Duong Duc
Minh, Deputy Director of the HCM City’s Tourism and Economic Development
Research Institute, said community-based tourism would be an excellent material
for tourism development strategy in the Mekong Delta.

community-based tourism had not been integrated into tourism planning and
development, requiring localities to have policies to develop the model in the

Pointing out
weaknesses in tourism development, Deputy CEO of Saigontourist Group Truong Duc
Hung said in many community-based tourism sites, the transport infrastructure
was still inadequate, and services remained poor.

A shortage
of qualified human resources had hindered the development of some services. In
addition, there was little information about tourist attractions in the Mekong
Delta, making it difficult for international visitors to access them.

Hung said
localities in the region must strengthen marketing strategies and have firm
stimulus promotion policies to attract tourists.


For the
Mekong Delta to become an attractive destination, many experts believe that
localities need to strengthen regional coordination and links among one
another, especially with HCM City, to diversify tourism products and connect
service supply chains between HCM City to 13 localities in the Mekong Delta.

Chairman of the An Giang Provincial People’s Committee Tran Anh Thu said
ecological and spiritual tourism was a growing trend in the world, especially
after the COVID-19 pandemic.

province’s most popular spiritual tourism destination, Ba Chua Xu Temple in Chau
Doc city’s Nui Sam Mountain, welcomed about five million tourists last year,
creating jobs for more than 400,000 people.

HCM City is the first destination for domestic
and international tourists. Therefore, tourism development between HCM City and
13 Mekong Delta localities will create attractive tourism values.

Deputy Director of HCM City’s Department of
Tourism Bui Thi Ngoc Hieu agreed, saying that some tour packages from HCM City
to the Mekong Delta had received a large number of tourists after a short time
of coordination.

A 1-day tour from HCM City to Tien Giang, Ben
Tre, or Long An, and a 2-day tour from HCM City to Tien Giang – Ben Tre; Ben
Tre – Tra Vinh; and Long An – Dong Thap are among popular travel packages. In
addition, the river tour from the Sai Gon River to the Tien River, which was
launched this year, has received positive feedback.

Other multipleday tours have been built to serve
tourists. For example, Saigon Tourism Corporation has set up three tours
lasting between four and six days from HCM City to the Mekong Delta provinces,
which feature the identity and characteristics of the life, people and culture
of the Mekong River.

HCM City has worked with the Mekong Delta to
reduce food costs and free admission tickets to lure tourists.

By the end of 2022, the Mekong Delta was
estimated to have welcomed over 44 million tourists, an increase of 201.2% over
the same period in 2021. As a result, tourism revenue of Mekong Delta reached
nearly VNĐ34 trillion, up 216.9% over the same period of 2021.

Currently, domestic tourists account for
two-thirds of the total.

Bold plans

Experts said bold moves were necessary to
develop tourism in the Mekong Delta to a new level.

 Deputy General Director of Vietravel Huynh
Phan Phuong Hoang said that shortly, localities in the region needed to focus
on investing in synchronous tourism infrastructures, such as building
expressways connecting HCM City to the Mekong Delta, solving the traffic jam at
Trung Luong – My Thuan Highway at peak times and urgently implementing the
construction of Dai Ngai Bridge to develop tourism products between Tra Vinh
and Soc Trang.

Four or five star hotels, resorts, and garden
resorts must be associated with the typical river and water nature of the
Mekong Delta, developing tourism products with incredible prices to boost the
number of visitors.

Authorities should have policies to encourage
local people to do tourism, such as community-based and green tourism, and
develop more eco-agricultural tourism products.

Thang suggested that tourism products of the
Mekong Delta must serve tourists of different ages, such as discovery tourism
for young people and resort tourism for the elderly.

Each province should identify a strong tourism
product, then cooperate to develop attractive tourism products to compete
with that in the Southeast Asian region, she added./.



HCM City looking to recover int’l tourist market



Ho Chi Minh City posted strong socio-economic recovery last year after a long period of grappling with COVID-19, with its tourism sector recording rapid and impressive growth.


The city’s tourism sector began to prosper following the Government’s decision to reopen borders and welcome international visitors from March 15, 2022.

It welcomed nearly 3.5 million foreign visitors last year and over 31.5 million domestic travellers.

Total tourism revenue exceeded 130 trillion VND (equivalent to over 5.5 billion USD) for the year.

Despite this recovery and the city proving to be among the most popular destinations nationwide, there remain a host of concerns.

Despite these obstacles, HCM City is maximising efforts to recover the international tourist market.

The city is focusing on investment to create new tourism offerings, upgrade tour packages, and promote tourism activities.

Though the tourism sector failed to reach its goals in 2022, results were still much more positive than in the previous year.

HCM City expects to welcome 5 million international visitors this year.

Though this goal is relatively modest compared to pre-pandemic levels, the local tourism sector is working to improve entry and visa policies as well as air and road transport links, and to promote tourism activities to welcome back a large number of foreign holidaymakers./.


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Unique beauty of Hang Pagoda in Trà Vinh



A panoramic view of Hang Pagoda. — Photo

Lâm Giang

As a province with many ethnic Khmer people living, Trà Vinh Province has a distinct beauty expressed through its unique architectural works.

Among the famous landscapes and monuments in the province, Hang Pagoda is a must-visit destination.

The pagoda, also called Kompông Chrây Pagoda, was established in 1637. It is 5km from Trà Vinh Town.

The 2ha-pagoda is completely covered in green forest.

It is called Hang (Cave) Pagoda because the western side gate, facing National Highway 54, is built like a system of three caves. The middle gate is a large cave, and the two sides are small caves. All three gates are solidly built with 12m thick walls, creating the feeling of standing in the gate like a cave.

The arched pagoda gate is an artistic architectural work that distinguishes Hang Pagoda from the rest of the Khmer pagodas in the province. It contains a deeply religious and historical value.

The cave gate is a ‘relic’ showing that Trà Vinh Khmer Theravada Buddhism has a certain inheritance of Brahminism because, in the old days, Brahmin monks often lived quietly in dark and deserted caves.

There are rows of ancient trees at the pagoda’s gate. — Photo

The main hall of the pagoda was built on high ground, with many steps leading up, decorated with many patterns and motifs. The roof of the main hall is composed of many overlapping layers, on top of which is a majestic tower.

Inside the main hall are two rows of tall columns, and in the middle of the hall is the altar of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Opposite the main hall is a population of 12 animals arranged in an arc shaped like a boat.

Like other Khmer pagodas, Hang Pagoda is not only a place of worship and belief but also a place of learning, moral education, and preservation of the traditional art and culture of the Khmer people.

In the pagoda, there is a fairly large school and about 20 small stilt houses for the Khmer in the area to come to pray and practice here.

The main hall of Hang Pagoda. — Photo

The properties of Hang Pagoda cover an area of about 7ha. It is really a primaeval forest with many endemic plant species such as bamboo, rare wood trees. They are crammed into many different layers, which are very valuable in terms of the biosphere and are a natural source of genes for future generations.

Another attraction of this pagoda to visitors is the wood carving workshop that has been operating for nearly 30 years, with many products that are famous in the Vietnamese fine art market and a strictly protected “bird sanctuary”, home to many different kinds of birds and bats.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the forest on the properties of Hang Pagoda has been inhabited by many bats and crows. At night they go out to look for food. During the day, they hang from the branches of the trees.

However, after that, not many bats were left for unknown reasons.

From the 1990s onwards, the forest of Hang Pagoda has become home to many kinds of birds. The pagoda sets out very strict regulations on protection of birds and trees in the forest, creating a peaceful natural environment for flocks of birds to live. There are nearly tens of thousands of birds of all kinds. Most are white storks, ivory storks, red-necked storks and herons.

Hang Pagoda is home to many birds and bats. — Photo

Loved and protected by people, more and more birds have arrived in the pagoda. They make their nests even in the newly planted bonsai area in front of the main hall and the monks’ house.

Visiting Hang Pagoda, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the monks of the wood-carving workshop to create unique artworks from tree roots.

Wood-carving artists at work at Hang Pagoda. — Photo

During nearly 30 years of operation, the art wood-carving workshop has produced thousands of works of different sizes. All works from the workshop are imbued with the traditional visual arts of the Khmer ethnics.

After visiting the workshop, tourists stroll around the pagoda. In the morning, the birds soar to the sky, spreading to find food in the fields and rivers nearby, creating a noisy atmosphere for the whole forest.

Trà Vinh boasts about 150 pagodas of the Khmer and nearly 60 pagodas of other ethnic groups. 

Visitors feel like they are lost in the “Land of Buddha”, being immersed in the unique spiritual and cultural space of the Khmer with unique ancient architecture of their pagodas.

For tourists who love to learn about spiritual culture, Trà Vinh is the ideal choice. VNS


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Spring festival attracts visitors to Quang Nam



A spring festival was held recently in Dong Giang district in the central province of Quang Nam, with various activities offering visitors the chance to experience the land, people, cultural identity, tourism services, and typical cuisine of highland people.

Visitors to the Heaven Gate Spring Festival could immerse themselves in nature and capture moments of spring amid vibrant flowers of the highlands. Of particular note, festival organisers provided free entry to Co Tu ethnic minority people in the province.

The festival is held outdoors, with activities experiencing local culture such as folk dances and new rice celebrations, etc., with the participation of dozens of local artisans. Visitors joined dances and learned the meaning of such beautiful community activities.

The festival is a prominent event in Quang Nam province, attracting more than 5,000 visitors on a journey of discovery and experience./.


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