This year marks the 75th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day, which falls on Wednesday, September 2.
As big celebrations and long-distance travels are affected by the ongoing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, municipal authorities have shifted the focus of this year’s holiday promotions to services that are aimed at families and groups of friends looking for short trips within the city or to neighboring provinces.
All of the products and services that are offered in the promotion program are required to meet the guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control set by health authorities.
Among the options, Anh Viet Hop On - Hop Off Vietnam Ltd., which operates sightseeing tours on open-top double-decker buses, will offer round-the-city tickets on Wednesday for only VND99,000 (US$4.3) for children and VND149,000 ($6.42) for adults.
For tourists who prefer to travel by boat, Saigon Boat Tour operates tours on rowing boats along the city’s iconic Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal, with the options for ‘sunset viewing’ tours from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and romantic ‘Saigon by night’ tours to view the city all lit up.
Participants will be treated to performances of ‘don ca tai tu’ shows, a genre of instrumental and vocal traditional music from southern Vietnam recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage, or take part in ‘flower garlands and colored lanterns’ rituals.
Other travel agencies such as Fiditour and TST Tourist offer city tours in Ho Chi Minh City and those connecting to the nearby destinations located in the southern province of Tay Ninh and the Mekong Delta.
Apart from tours, many travel agencies also run 5-star hospitality services in Ho Chi Minh City at ‘super cheap’ prices.
Among them is a 50-percent discount on room rates at Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 Hotel, including benefits like free mooncake baking classes, free-of-charge late checkout, and massage vouchers.
The four-star Odys Boutique Hotel in District 1 is offering a nightly rate of VND800,000 ($35) before tax for its Superior double room with other benefits included in the price.
Some other tourist attractions have also announced lucrative promotions with discounts of up to 50 percent on their services.
Fees for entrance to the observation deck at Bitexco, Ho Chi Minh City’s second-highest skyscraper, for example, will be halved on Wednesday to only VND100,000 ($4.3) for adults and VND65,000 ($2.8) for senior citizens over 65 and children between four and 12 years old.
According to the head of a travel agency in Ho Chi Minh City, the local tourism industry might face the imbalance of tourist numbers at attractions during the National Day and for the remainder of the year.
Some places are forecast to become overcrowded by guests while others will suffer from little foot traffic, the insider asserted.
Many families chose to take short vacations on the weekend, mostly to destinations within Ho Chi Minh City or in surrounding areas.
They mostly travel in private vehicles with small groups of family or friends.
Some popular beach cities such as Vung Tau and Phan Thiet — 85 kilometers and 200 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, respectively — reported a substantial number of tourists on the weekend, leading to inflated room rates.
During the ‘new normal’ period, tourists are required to comply with regulations on safety and hygiene, including having to wear a face mask at restaurants, buffet areas, and swimming pools.
More information on tourism promotions in Ho Chi Minh City can be found on the official website kichcaudulichtphcm.vn.
Kim Thoa - N. Binh / Tuoi Tre News