Mumbai: The linchpin of economy, culture and tourism in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is considered as Asia’s Travel Gateway, connecting not only all provinces within the country or cities in Asia but also the rest of the world. With these advantages, the city has witnessed significant growth in the tourism sector over the years.

Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) to Ho Chi Minh City were 6.39 million in 2017, an increase of over 22.8 per cent compared to 2016. With this, the city has accomplished 100 per cent of its planned target, which accounts for over 50 per cent of the total FTAs to Vietnam. The total tourism revenue is around $5.06 billion, up 12.6 per cent over the same period last year. Tourism contributes 11 per cent to the city’s GDP.

Ho Chi Minh City’s top source markets are Northeast Asian region, namely China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, followed by the US and other Souteast Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Major markets from Europe include the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The number of tourists from the five west European countries has been increasing at a rate of 14 per cent per year since the visa-free policy took effect two years ago. Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director, Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said: “Ecotourism, Responsible Tourism, River Tourism, Food Tourism and MICE are the key products that we plan to promote this year. As the largest economic hub in the south, the city also has great potential to become the leading destination of MICE tourism in Southeast Asia.”

With over 300 years of history, Ho Chi Minh City offers a mixture of old and new, East and West. “There are many architectural marvels, historical monuments and museums, namely Ben Thanh Market, Cu Chi Tunnels, Reunification Palace, Opera House, Central Post Office and Notre Dame.”

Food Paradise: Ho Chi Minh City is a paradise for gourmets. One can relish a variety of distinct and delicious cuisines with fresh ingredients and a unique balance of flavours.

Friendly People: The warm and friendly local people are a contributing factor in popularising the city as a must-see tourist destination. It is considered as one of the safest tourist places in the world.

Vibrant City: It’s a city where the night is always young. Tourists can experience the nightlife by visiting Nguyen Hue Walking Street or Bui Vien Walking Street. Street dancers and musicians create an upbeat feel in every corner.

City of Festivities: The place hosts a lot of events and festivals, namely Flower Festival on Lunar New Year, Southern Fruit and Food Festival, International Culinary Festival and Ao Dai Festival.

Ao Dai Festival: Ao Dai Festival, held from March 3 to 25, has become the national symbol of Vietnam. The festival preserves and promotes the values of the traditional attire and honours people who have been engaging in its preservation.

ITE HCMC 2018: Established in 2005,  the annual international Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) 2018 is slated to be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center in September.

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