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Cruise ships flocking to Vietnam on Tet holiday
Saturday,  2/9/2019, 12:22 

Cruise ships flocking to Vietnam on Tet holiday

By Dao Loan

The cruise ship Sapphire Princess is seen at Phu My Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on February 8 - PHOTO: VIET ANH

HCMC – The country has seen the cruise tourism sector growing strongly during the Lunar Year holiday, with international cruise ships bringing in tens of thousands of passengers.

Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of Viet Excursions Tourism Company, said seaports have been receiving more international cruise ships this Tet than last Tet, so the company’s staff have had no days off during Tet.

The company arranged port calls for Silver Sea, Seabourn Ovation, Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess ships in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Nang on the first days of Tet, Anh said.

“We have had to work during Tet. Over 5,000 international tourists on board cruise ships came to Vietnam within the first four days of the year,” Anh told the Saigon Times on the fourth day of the lunar year, February 8, when welcoming the luxury ship Diamond Princess at Phu My port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The company will be busy with more cruise vessels in the next ten days, he said, adding that this year, the firm will serve an estimated 60,000 international cruise visitors, up 10% against last year.

Saigontourist Travel Service Company will start welcoming two cruise ships with thousands of passengers on board on the seventh day of the year.

In addition, Nha Trang City will serve an estimated 5,600 visitors on board four cruise ships this Tet. It was reported that 66 international cruise ships came to the city last year, carrying 120,000 passengers, up 17.5% against 2017.

Farriek Tawfik, director of Southeast Asia for Princess Cruises, said Vietnam’s cruise tourism is on the rise, and that infrastructure for ports such as Chan May in Hue City, Phu My and Ha Long is being upgraded to accommodate more cruise ships to Vietnam in the coming time.

“Last year, we took 80,000 tourists to Vietnam. Since November 2018, our two ships, including Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess, have arrived at Nha Trang and Phu My ports for many times,” he said.

Farriek suggested that Vietnam’s tourism sector invest in transportation to better serve tourists and have tour guides with a good command of spoken English to attract more international travelers from cruise ships.

Beside this, Vietnam should cooperate with other countries in Southeast Asia to boost cruise tourism and make it easier for tourists to travel from/to other destinations in Southeast Asia by sea as the region is a big cruise tourism market.

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