A group of tourists, including Vietnamese and foreigners, left Ho Chi Minh City’s downtown for its coastal Can Gio District on Sunday in the first waterway tour launched by the city under its tourism recovery plan after months of suspension due to COVID-19.
The tour kicked off as the city and Vietnam in general have loosened COVID-19 restrictions and reopened their economies under ‘new normal conditions,’ which refers to the government’s strategy of living safely with the coronavirus.
Daily infections have fallen nationwide in the last few weeks while health workers have given almost 73 million vaccine doses since vaccination was rolled out on March 8.
The group of 50 travelers, including expats working in the city, departed from Bach Dang Wharf at 8:00 am on the express boat Greenlines DP.
They had earlier attended a ceremony held by the city’s Department of Tourism and Vietnamtourist, the tour organizer, to welcome the first visitors to Can Gio by waterway since COVID-19 restrictions began in May.
The travelers enjoyed the scenes of the city’s heart, the Thu Thiem peninsula, the city’s highest building Landmark 81, Nha Rong Wharf, Ben Nghe Port, and Phu My Bridge before the high-speed boat headed to Can Gio.
When reaching Thieng Lieng Hamlet, in Can Gio’s Thanh An island commune, visitors relaxed with a bicycle ride around the small island, learned about the life of local people and their salt-making business, enjoyed tea and fruits, and took part in other cultural activities.
The tour’s program also included visits to the Vam Sat tourist area and the Can Gio Mangrove Forest, which was recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2000, among other attractive destinations.
The package tour price is VND1.779 million (US$78) per traveler, including insurance against COVID-19 and other expected problems.
Jean Philippe Lovotti, general manager of 5-star Caravelle Saigon Hotel, said he felt very honored and excited to join the ecotourism trip to Can Gio by waterway.
Such a program, designed to connect humans with nature, encourages sustainable environmental development, honors the local culture, and contributes to reviving the tourism and hotel industries, Lovotti said.
“This tour is one of the activities Saigontourist has made in response to the city administration’s plan for restoring local tourism in safe adaptation to COVID-19 between now and 2022,” said Pham Huy Binh, chairman of Saigontourist.
Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the tourism department, said her agency has cooperated with businesses to develop suitable tourism products, including waterway tourism like this Can Gio tour in order to diversify products to serve tourists, going in line with the city’s road map to reactivate tourism activities, Tuoi Tre Newspaper reported.