When you think about Ho Chi Minh City perched on the mighty Mekong River in the south eastern corner of Vietnam, images of Saigon, for many, what in Vietnam they call the American War and we call the Vietnam War might spring to mind and if you are of the right age, I bet that you can also hear Robin Williams famous cry “good morning Vietnam!”.
While I have been to HCMC aka Saigon a number of times, nothing could have prepared me on my recent visit, for the stunning growth in the last two years in this amazing city and not only growth as a speedily maturing tourism destination in its own right and all that entails, but also as gateway, not only to Vietnam but also all the amazing countries in this region.
Having attended ITE HCMC this year and seen the plethora of top quality tourism product on offer, I have vowed to come back to Vietnam to spend a great deal more time exploring this great country, with its incredibly friendly people, amazing history, great food, the mix of France and Asia in particular in Saigon, and much more.
After ITE, I was particularly fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with the Ms Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, the organisation which markets Ho Chi Minh City across the world and also has responsibility for developing tourism infrastructure in the city,
I was stunned to hear from Ms Hoa that while the population of HCMC is estimated at around 9 million and of course there are 7 million and growing motor cycles and scooters, an amazing 4.6million tourists visited the city in 2015, with an even more amazing 2.4 million visiting in the first six months of 2016 alone!
Amongst the things Ms Hoa told me were that her department’s focus was not only on consolidation Ho Chi Minh’ City’s reputation as one of the most exciting cities and gateway destinations in the world, but also to constantly evolve and develop the infrastructure the city needs to welcome even more visitors and also of course promoting the city globally through a wide range of marketing and on line activity.
Enough from me, why not check out what Ms Hoa has to tell me in the video below – perhaps a lesson for some other cities around the world:
An on location report from ITE Ho Chi Minh City 2016 by John Alwyn-Jones