| The first cruise ship to arrive in Hue named CELEBRITY SOLSTICE docked at Chan May port on January 7
Dynamic market of cruise travel tourists
The first cruise ship to arrive in Hue named CELEBRITY SOLSTICE docked at Chan May port on January 7, carrying 2,700 tourists from the UK, France, the USA, etc. Notably, Saigontourist Travel Services Company has successfully served over 1,000 tourists who bought travel packages, disembarked, and visited tourist destinations while enjoying cuisine in Thua Thien Hue and Da Nang, Quang Nam.
An American tourist mentioned that cruise tourism is very modern, resembling a small city where one can eat, rest, and have fun everywhere on the ship. However, when the ship arrived at Chan May port, he still wanted to get off and explore Hue.
"Visiting the historical sites of Hue allows you to learn about the royal architectural art with its system of citadels, tombs… A culturally rich land like Hue will provide meaningful experiences for travelers like us." shared the American tourist.
| The cruise travel tourists getting off the ship to visit Hue city
Cruise travel tourism market is gradually becoming vibrant again, and since the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, there have been many positive signals. According to representatives of Chan May Port Joint Stock Company and cruise ship operating companies, after the pandemic period, international cruise travel companies have vigorously resumed activities with many travel companies registering to bring passengers to Chan May port. In 2023, Chan May port had 25 cruise ship arrivals, bringing over 50,000 international tourists and crew members to Thua Thien Hue. In the last month of 2023 alone, there were 9 large cruise ships, bringing more than 36,000 passengers and 16,000 crew members to Chan May port. Particularly, the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Chan May port three times in December 2023, with 2,800 passengers and 1,000 crew members each time. Over 50% of the passengers landed for tours to Hue city, Da Nang city, or Da Nang - Hoi An city.
Currently, the number of registered cruise ships scheduled to dock at Chan May port in 2024 is 32, with nearly 60,000 passengers and over 22,000 crew members. The market share of cruise passengers to Vietnam is forecasted to be quite vibrant, mainly from the middle and upper classes, with a significant spending level. Therefore, the leaders of the Department of Tourism shared that Thua Thien Hue would develop additional tours and routes to meet the high demands of this tourist group, thereby increasing the length of stay for tourists.
Various solutions to attract tourist
While the arrival of luxury cruise ships at Chan May port is a positive sign, attracting tourists to explore, experience, stay, and “spend money” in Hue for tourism activities requires many solutions.
Sharing on the program to welcome the first cruise ship and tourists to Thua Thien Hue via maritime route in 2024, Deputy Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh said that to develop sea tourism, in addition to investing in technical infrastructure of the port, the province has enhanced the construction of tourism products suitable for these tourist groups. Currently, the province has entrusted the Hue Monuments Conservation Center and the tourism industry to develop demand stimulation policies, support, and integrate some traditional tourism products to focus on serving this tourist group.
In addition, the province is building a coordination strategy with localities such as Da Nang, Quang Nam province to form tours sharing local tourism products to serve tourists coming to Hue and the Central region by sea.
According to Mr. Truong Thanh Minh, Director of the Tourism Promotion Information Center, in 2024, there will be a tourist information center right at Chan May port. This information center will professionally introduce tourism products and destinations in Hue to attract high-end tourists to visit and experience them in Hue.
In recent times, many ships have docked at Chan May port in the evening and stayed overnight. However, night tourism associated with night services in Hue is evaluated as not lively and attractive; there are no high-class entertaining services or shopping centers. This is also a concern that local authorities and the tourism industry are actively addressing, seeking solutions, especially calling for investment with flexible methods, including international standard services for tourists.
To truly exploit the effectiveness, relevant units need to change their approach to receiving cruise passengers, gradually shifting from passive exploitation to active management. The tourism industry and related units should conduct surveys, learn from major ports in the region about receiving and exploiting cruise passengers, such as in Singapore, Malaysia.
The Department of Tourism, together with businesses, studied the preferences of tourists to create tourism products, a chain of unique ones; carried out promotion activities by conducting surveys, participating in promotion at major cruise travel tourism fairs, etc. Local authorities need to continue investing, upgrading products to serve current cruise ship tourists, creating impression on tourist from traditional craft village products; developing eco-tourism, community tourism combined with exploration, experiencing local customs, habits, and cultures to attract international tourists, especially those from Europe and North America.