Saigontourist seeks to renovate closed river port

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A view of Thu Thiem Port, which closed down in early 2012. Vietnam's leading tourism company Saigontourist has proposed that it is entrusted with renovating the port as part of the city's plan to promote river tourism.

The Saigontourist Holding Company has proposed that it is entrusted with the task of renovating Thu Thiem Port in downtown Ho Chi Minh City as part of a US$500-million plan to develop river tourism in the city.

In a proposal sent to the HCMC People's Committee, Saigontourist says it wants to upgrade the port into a professional tourism port with a waiting area and tourism marketing center.

The port, located in District 1, closed down early last year after Vietnam opened the underwater Thu Thiem Tunnel, which allows commuters to travel between downtown city and Mekong Delta provinces in a much shorter time.  

In February, HCMC appointed Saigontourist, Vietnam's leading tourism company, as the main promoter of river tourism for the 2013-2015 period (with orientation to 2020).

The city expects the master project, to be implemented at an estimated cost of VND11 trillion (US$526 million) funded mainly by investors, to increase the number of visitors taking river tours by 20 percent, and sales by 30 percent year-on-year through 2020.

It will upgrade existing ports and build new ones in three central districts - 1, 8, and 9, and two rural districts - Can Gio and Cu Chi. 

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the HCM City People's Committee, has said that her administration is seeking a new tourism program to attract international tourists that will ensure that the city remains the country's first stop.

HCMC last year was the destination for 3.8 million international visitors, 85 percent of foreign tourists coming to Vietnam. 

On May 7, she told the Saigon Times that the city will launch seven river tours this month.

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