VietNamNet Bridge – What worries Da Nang authorities most is how to make the city more attractive and create a healthy tourism environment to satisfy the increasing number of tourists.
Cruise tourists on the rise
|Cruise tourists on the rise|
According to Duong Thi Tho, Head of the Tourism Management Division under the Da Nang Tourist Department, the number of cruise tourists docking at Tien Sa port (in the Da Nang port complex) has bounced back after a long period of decline.
On January 25 and 26, two ships, the Albatros and the Costa Allegra, brought more than 1,000 Chinese, Hong Kong, French, Italian and German tourists to the sea city. As such, in January 2007 alone, Da Nang has received 10 cruise ships with 4,000 tourists.
According to shipping agents and travel firms, in 2007, Da Nang port will receive 50 ships and 22,000 tourists, the highest ever figure for cruise ships and passengers docking at Da Nang port since 2002. Most of the ships will come in the first quarter of the year (26 ships and 12,000 travellers).
Thomas Gleib, Managing Director of the Albatros, said that this was the first time the ship had docked in Da Nang, bringing 600 passengers. Together with the Maxim Gorky and the Costa Marina, which belong to the same company, the Albatros has added Da Nang onto its list of regular ports during its journey to Southeast Asia.
Some time ago, ships always docked at Chan May port in Thua Thien – Hue, while Da Nang port was just the second choice. There are similar conditions for Da Nang and Chan May ports, including the water line and wind power. However, Chan May, as a new port, has its advantages, including a longer pier. Moreover, the port has applied a series of policies attracting ships to dock at the port: lower docking fees, reduced sightseeing fees for cruise tourists.
However, Da Nang port has regained its attractiveness. Vosa’s and Gemardept’s agents, captains and crews still prefer docking their ships at Da Nang port to Chan May, because they know the narrow passages well. Da Nang port has also been trying its best to attract more cruise tourists recently.
Despite many efforts, Da Nang port still cannot meet the requirements for cruise ships well. The problem lies in the fact that Da Nang needs a port specifically designed to serve tourists. The Da Nang city leadership has decided to change the Han River port (also in the Da Nang port complex), which is polluted and causes traffic jams in the centre of the city, into a tourism port. The decision has been supported by the Ministry of Transport. However, the Vietnam Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has not paid appropriate attention to the project, saying that the issue would be discussed after the second period of the Tien Sa port expansion was completed, scheduled for 2012.
Most of the cruise tourists coming to Da Nang are old and rich people, who can pay a lot for souvenirs and services. Meanwhile, Da Nang has neither 4-5 star hotels nor attractive sightseeing places and high-grade shopping centres.
There are many shops in Da Nang, but they are scattered everywhere in the city. The shopping street has been opened, Hung Vuong street, but it is still far from meeting the requirements of an international-standard shopping centre.
How to get a ‘clean tourism environment’ is also a headache for local leaders. At sightseeing places, cyclo drivers and vendors always follow travellers, asking them to buy souvenirs and scramble to serve them. Ms Tho said that local authorities had been advised to set up a taskforce in charge of protecting the tourism environment, such as can be seen in HCM City. However, for many reasons, the taskforce has not been established.
Several days ago, the Da Nang People’s Committee released instruction No 2, asking the chairmen of district peoples’ committees to take responsibility for the security and tourism environment at the sightseeing places located in their localities.