American tourists wear Vietnamese ‘non la’ conical hats and a traditional black and white checkered ‘khan rang’ shawl during a welcome ceremony at HCMC on April 8, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi
A group of 130 American tourists arrived in HCMC on Friday, the largest group of foreign visitors to the city since Vietnam reopened to tourism three weeks ago.
The group, consisting mostly of entrepreneurs and first-time visitors to the city, was solemnly welcomed at the Vietnam History Museum in District 1.
They’ll stay in five-star hotels, take boat trips along the Saigon River, visit Ben Thanh Market, the annual Ao Dai Festival, and the Cu Chi Tunnels, a labyrinthine network used during the Vietnam War. by Vietnamese soldiers for hiding and as a means of communication and supply.
Visitors will also visit the Mekong Delta, the famous Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and Da Nang.
Nancy Lesage, one of the tourists, said: “I feel safe and I don’t worry about Covid-19 when I’m here. Everything is full of life.”
She plans to recommend Vietnam to her family and friends once she returns home.
Debra Rosen, one of the few in the group to have visited Vietnam before, said she rarely visits a place twice unless she is really interested and impressed.
“I like this country.”
During the ceremony, visitors received souvenirs from the authorities and were offered discounts on accommodation, restaurants and shopping by various companies.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the city’s tourism department, said the city is ready to receive groups of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) tourists from other markets.
HCMC runs a tourism program called “Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City”. To last from March to September, it has companies from the tourism and service sectors offering discounts and novelties to visitors.
Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign tourists on March 15, allows quarantine-free entry and reinstated its pre-pandemic visa policy, including waivers for nationals of 24 countries.