In 2007, the number of foreign arrivals in HCM City reached more than 2.7 million, including 2.1 million coming by air, up 14 percent from the 2006 figure.
According to the HCM City Department of Tourism, last year’s total revenue from tourism activities hit VND24,000 billion, an increase of 45 percent compared to 2006.
Over the past 10 years, the city’s tourism markets has remained unchanged with the US taking the lead, followed by Japan, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, China, France, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada. The markets, which have seen a sharp and steady increase, were China, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.
In addition, visitors from Russia mainly came to HCM City for business conferences or seminars. Despite not being listed among the top ten tourism markets, the Russian market continues to grow at a high rate of 75 percent.
Economic experts say that despite the growing number of tourists to HCM City, their length of stay remains short, only one and a half day with a spending level of US$100/ per person. The figure is lower than in other regional countries such as Thailand and Indonesia.
Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Dong Thi Kim Vui says the city can welcome the larger numbers of tourists if its infrastructure facilities are upgraded, especially hotels. HCM City is currently facing a dire shortage of three or five star standard hotel rooms, particularly during special occasions.
The city aims to receive approximately 3 million foreign tourists in 2008, up 11 percent from the 2007 level with total revenue of VND29,000 billion.
In order to reach that goal, the municipal Tourism Department is devising a tourism development plan for the next few years with a focus on developing hotels, restaurants and recreational areas in a hope of turning HCM City into a tourism and trade centre.