HCM City is keen to develop inland waterway tourism into one of its key attractions by 2020.
Last week the People's Committee ordered the Department of Tourism to take measures to foster waterway tourism and relevant agencies to finalise legal documents for managing private wharves serving tourists.
The city has set itself a target of increasing the number of waterway tourists by 20 per cent annually and the revenues from such tourism by 30 per cent.
To achieve the target, the city has begun waterway tours to the Mekong Delta and even Cambodia besides medium-range tours to its rural districts of Cu Chi and Can Gio and short trips along canals with stops in Districts 8, 2, and 9.
They have all received positive feedback from both Vietnamese and foreign tourists, according to city authorities.
Every year around 15,000 foreign tourists do the Cu Chi tour, which is part of longer tours to the two neighbouring provinces of Binh Duong and Tay Ninh.
This year the city plans to build or upgrade 45 wharves for tourist boats, develop 65 tourism sites in districts connected by waterways and build three community tourism sites in its rural districts of Cu Chi, Can Gio, and 9.
Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe canal
The Department of Tourism has urged the Saigon Boat JSC to speed up purchase of boats for tourism on the Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe canal system, which is expected to start on Viet Nam National Day (September 2).
The department said the company should invest in 10 boats with oars - but also engines - that should be large enough for traditional music and dance performances.
The city expects its two canal tours - the other one being on Tau Hu - Ben Nghe, which is already operational - to take visitors through old areas of the city with unique architecture, creating a good impression on them.
The Saigon Boat JSC said for the nine-kilometre Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe tour, it would get 10 southern-style boats that are a metre high and with 20 seats. The canal runs through Districts 1, 3, Tan Binh, Phu Nhuan, and Binh Thanh.
The boats will leave from a wharf near Thi Nghe Bridge in Binh Thanh District and berth at a wharf near Khmer Pagoda on Hoang Sa Street in District 3.
On board, tourists can enjoy flute, dan tranh (16 chord zither), and don ca tai tu (Southern amateur traditional music) performances and taste southern specialities.