Last updated: Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Toward a Smart Tourism City

Posted: Friday, June 08, 2018

2017 marked a successful year of the tourism industry of Ho Chi Minh City when the largest city of Vietnam recorded six million international visitors. The local tourism industry development is involved in all aspects from State management, the close care of the Party and the municipal government, the coordination of agencies and sectors concerned, the robust action of districts, and above all, the consensus of the business community and people for joint tourism development.

Many spotlights

According to the statistics of the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department, in 2017, main tourism indicators continued to enjoy high growth. The city welcomed more than 6.38 million international visitors, up 22.88 per cent over 2016, and domestic tourist arrivals reached 24.9 million, representing a year on year growth of 14.6 per cent. Its tourism revenue totalled nearly VND116 trillion (US$5 billion), up 12.6 per cent over 2016. “The number of 6.38 million international visitor arrivals was impressive, taking account a total of about 13 million foreign tourists to Vietnam in 2017,” said Mr Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the Tourism Department.

In the past year, the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department carried out Resolution 08-NQ/TW of the Politburo dated January 16, 2017 on tourism development towards a spearhead economic sector and Directive 07/CT-TU dated September 16, 2016 of the Standing Board of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee on tourism development tasks to 2020, supported by programmes and plans aimed to change thinking and perceptions of tourism development. Product development witnessed a lot of positive changes thanks to the effective deployment of waterborne tourism product development plans in 2017 - 2020, the coordinated introduction of tourism service streets, the increased development of medical and culinary tourism, the increased surveys of agricultural and countryside tourism development, and tourism potential assessment for better tourism development.

In addition, the Tourism Department promoted tourism information and officially operated two information and support stations at Bach Dang Park and 23/9 Park. Domestic and overseas tourism promotion has been increasingly professionalised and invested. In addition to annual events, the First International Visitor Reception Ceremony, the Street Show, the Fashion & Technology Festival 2017 and the Techcombank International Marathon Ho Chi Minh City 2017 were new tourism events created with the desire of diversifying tourism products and attracting more tourists to Ho Chi Minh City.
In 2017, the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department continued to promote tourism cooperation with 48 provinces and cities to enhance the sector performance. The city particularly inspected the settlement of complaints and denunciations, thus creating a healthy, competitive tourism environment and building the image of Ho Chi Minh City - a “charming - friendly - secure” destination.

Developing IT-based smart tourism

In 2018, the Ho Chi Minh City tourism has targeted to welcome 7.5 million international visitors and 29 million domestic tourists and earn total revenue of VND138 trillion (US$6 billion). The city will continue to pursue its goal of enhancing the image of “charming - friendly - secure” destination, making Ho Chi Minh City a smart tourist city, applying information technology to tourism operation and management, and building intelligent software for visitors.

Mr Vu said that building Ho Chi Minh City into a smart tourism city is certainly within the general direction of construction of a smart city. Most visits are self-organised. Up to 70 per cent of tourists get information from websites and social networks. Starting from this reality and in the current Fourth Industrial Revolution, the city’s tourism industry has to focus further on smart tourism.

Specifically, the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department organised surveys, statistics and assessments of new local resources to build a geographic information system (GIS) mapping database of tourism resources. The department signed agreements with major corporations to carry out the Smart Tourism City Project and, most recently, with VNPT Ho Chi Minh City to build smartphone-based tourism applications for the purpose of developing applications to help tourists with quick and accurate access to information about destinations, schedules, shopping and dining places, restaurants, hotels and hotline information to management agencies. The application is developed on both Android and iOS platforms, including English and Vietnamese, and planned to be equipped with other languages. It is expected this application will be completed and introduced to tourists in June 2018.

In addition, the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department has coordinated in constructing an integrated tourism portal with functions of online reporting updating information on tour operators, hotels and accommodations, tourist attractions, technological solutions - telecom services and centralised database system; gathering and investigating information and telecommunication services; enhancing the performance of tourism communication, e-marketing, travel software applications, smart navigation and smart advertising for tourists and citizens when travelling to Ho Chi Minh City. In the coming time, the department will cooperate with other corporations to expand information technology application to its State tourism management by building a smart tourism website integrated with online services and applied information technology to administrative work. “Technological solutions are always important and essential to build a smart tourism city, but they are not enough. The core is to have smart people from authorities and partners of tourism sector,” he affirmed.

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