Wellness, waterway being HCM City's key tourism offerings

Ho Chi Minh City is pinning high hope on healthcare and wellness, and waterway tourism offerings, which are seen as a cash cow for the southern hub.
HCM City is pinning high hope on waterway tourism - a cash cow for the southern hub.
HCM City is pinning high hope on waterway tourism - a cash cow for the southern hub.

A report by Grand View Research showed that the global wellness tourism market size is expected to top 1 trillion USD by 2030, and rise nearly 10% in the next eight years.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the country has over the recent years welcomed an increasing number of foreigners who come to experience healthcare and wellness services.

Some 300,000 foreigners visit the nation annually, with 40% of them seeking treatment in HCM City.

Annual revenue from healthcare and wellness tourism was around 2 billion USD before 2019 – the year when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

Tourists’ intense interest in resort and healthcare services post-pandemic has created an excellent opportunity for the city to branch out this kind of offering.

The municipal Department of Tourism has worked with 50 entities, including hospitals, healthcare facilities, spa palors, travel companies, and lodging facilities to create 30 unique packages that combine health care with visits to renowned tourist destinations to meet the needs of travelers.

Le Kien, CEO of Panhou Retreat and Whale Island Resort, said that city dwellers are facing a great deal of health problems such as nervous tension and sleep orders due to noise, air and light pollution.

Can Gio, Hoc Mon, and Cu Chi districts are able to offer visitors a relaxing and natural excursion that is far from the city hustle and bustle, he said, adding the localities hold huge potential to develop resort and wellness products.

Besides, high-quality waterway services have emerged as a focus to provide new experiences to visitors.

The city plans to launch waterway tourism products in all inland waterways in the city, and inter-provincial routes connecting with the neighbouring provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tien Giang, Long An, and Ben Tre.

By 2025, it aims to develop at least 10 waterway tours and programmes linking seaports and river routes.

The city is striving to welcome about 500,000 visitors a year to the waterway tourism programmes in the 2023-2024 period. This number is expected to increase by 10% in the following years.

It will work to improve voice-over translation systems to provide tourists with information about waterway tourism routes, and identify the historical and cultural values of rivers and canals across the city.

The municipal administration has urged relevant units to use the geographic information system (GIS) technology for building detailed maps of waterway tourism routes and destinations on the routes.

Additionally, it will build more wharves to boost cruise tourism, and develop tourism and entertainment services along the river banks and on river cruise ships.