According to Mr.Vu Duy Vu, deputy director of Saigontourist Travel Services Company, a leading cruise tourism company in Vietnam, in 2011, the cruise tourism began to get off the ground by welcoming many international cruise ships to Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Ha Long. In 2011, Saigontourist served more than 115,000 cruise tourists (mostly from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, China,...) from large international cruise firms as Costa Classica, Costa Romantica, SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, Princess Daphne, Amadea, Pacific Venus, Europa, Bremen ... By 2012, the cruise tourism would grow better and more stable. It is forecasted in 2012, arrivals by cruise would continue to increase by 10% over 2011. Saigontourist has big contracts lasting 5 months with StarCruises from late 2011 to early this year bringing hundreds of thousands of tourists. Besides, other cruise firms still keep up their itinerary to Vietnam in this year.
Mr. Phan Xuan Anh - Chairman of Viet Excursions, a travel agent for many foreign cruise firms such as P & O Cruises (UK), AIDACARA Cruises (Germany), Regent Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Princess Cruises (U.S) ... in Vietnam and Cambodia, said: In 2011, cruise tourism saw positive signals. And in 2012, it would really recover and grow, bringing hopes for development in the sector. According to tourism enterprises, seaports in the Central Vietnam such as Hue, Da Nang is strongly attractive to cruise tourists. During voyages from Hong Kong or Singapore to Vietnam, most cruise firms often choose to visit at least one port in the Central Region.
The most attractive destination is Ha Long, because this place has big advantages as a world natural heritage site. In addition, Ha Long is also the closest place to the North Asian markets such as China, Taiwan, Korea or Japan, so it is possible for Ha Long to get involved in those itineraries. The last 3 months of 2011, Ha Long Bay welcomed more than 51,000 passengers, increasing sharply over the same period in 2010. According to the forecast of Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Quang Ninh, the number of cruise tourists to Ha Long Bay in 2012 would increase by 30% over 2011.
In HCMC, to facilitate the effective exploitation of cruise tourism as well as river tourism, in 2011, the city established Vietnam Yacht Club in HCMC with 20 members, who are yacht owners, enterprises offering yacht service and related services in HCMC and some others provinces. The club aims to develop specific activities for investment, tourist development to boost river tourism.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism determined to focus on developing maritime tourism, which will be one of five breakthroughs to develop Vietnam maritime economy in the coming years. Mr.Nguyen Van Tuan - General Director of VNAT said that in the near future, sea-island travel will be a top priority. Beach resorts, which have high competitiveness in the region, will be built in the famous beaches and islands such as Ha Long, Cat Ba, Lang Co, Son Tra, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet, Mui Ne and Phu Quoc.