Many countries in Asia have reported a strong growth in terms of their cruise tourism in the past few years but Vietnam is lagging behind with only two to three per cent yearly growth. There is no limit as to Saigon dining options but many tour agencies revealed that there are other reasons why cruise passengers are not inclined to stop by Vietnam. For instance, the shopping centres and souvenirs shops do not offer much while the business centres do not meet the standards expected of a tourist destination.
According to authorities, there are not enough ports that could cater to cruise shops in Vietnam especially in Ho Chi Minh City which is the top tourist destination in the country. Currently, cruise ships have to use the same ports used to service cargo ships because of the lack of designated space for them.
In the whole country, only one harbourwas constructed to service cruise ships alone. It was recently built in QuangNinh, a province in the north, and was only opened before 2018 ended.
HaBich Lien, the adviser of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said that the top destination for travellers aboard the cruises is the Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the fact that the cruise ship docks at Phu My Port which is in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau along with container ships, tourists are still heading to Ho Chi Minh City.
The management of Phu My Port estimates that in the first quarter of 2019, they will have to accommodate around 12 cruise ships with 36,000 total tourists on board.
Lien revealed that the main reason why large cruise ships are not able to dock in Ho Chi Minh City is the absence of ports to accommodate them. As a result, the city is not able to enjoy the rewards brought by cruise tourism in the country which brings high-spending travellers from Europe and other parts of the world.
The local authorities in the city are hoping that the problem will soon have a solution. A boom in cruise tourism will boost local businesses including Saigon dining spots and accommodations around the city.