The year 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Can Tho becoming a central level city. This also reflects the rapid and sustainable development of Can Tho Tourism.

Impressive figures

From 2006 to 2012, the average growth rate of tourists in Can Tho was 12 percent/year, of which international tourists arrivals was 121,221 in 2006 and 190,116 in 2012, a 57 percent increase, or averaging 5 percent/year.

Revenue from tourism also increased significantly: from VND271 billion in 2006 to VND851 billion in 2012, up by three times in six years (19 percent increase on average). In 2006, the tourism sector created jobs for more than 2,010 people, by 2012, this number grew to 3,104, over 50 percent of which are professionally trained. 

According to Mr Tran Viet Phuong, Director of Can Tho Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, those accomplishments came from the efforts of the government and the people in renovating the face of the city. More and more cultural, historic and tourist sites had been invested and renovated, including Uncle Ho statue in Ninh Kieu Wharf, the tomb of Bui Huu Nghia, Ong Hao victory monument, the tomb of poet Phan Van Tri, and others. These all were works of great significance in meeting people's demand and providing more sightseeing destinations for tourists. Besides, landscape and environment was also invested with great attention such as Hau River Park, Xang Thoi Lake Park and Ninh Kieu Wharf Park. The positive changes in appearance undoubtedly made Can Tho a more attractive tourism destination.

Exploiting river tourism

The star of Can Tho travel is river tourism, with approximately 70 percent of the city’s tourists participating in this type of activity. The most favoured with visitors are the two floating markets of Cai Rang and Phong Dien. Tourists often combine floating market visits with fruit gardens sightseeing and homestays. 

Playing to this strength, local travel businesses have started to pay attention to promoting and advertising, training human resources, improving service quality and, for the long run, enhancing cooperation with other provinces and cities nationwide. The tourism sector also keeps close contact with functional departments responsible for waterway traffic and cruise ship terminals. 

Recently, a new activity of spending the night on the Mekong River has been attracting foreign visitors. Currently, Can Tho has ten tourist cruises providing this service with capacity of 60 rooms. 

Accommodation is considered a strength of Can Tho tourism. The city currently has 183 accommodation establishments with a total of 4,863 rooms, 65 of which are hotels from 1 to 4 star quality, providing 2,321 rooms for all kinds of travellers.

Can Tho has identified directions for its future development, focusing on river ecotourism, garden tourism and MICE tourism. The goal is that by 2020, the city will welcome 800,000 visits from international tourists and 2 million from domestic ones.

Ideal destination

According to Mr Phuong, with the advantage of being a regional central city, Can Tho had been striving to make tourism a spearhead economic sector of the city, worthy of the title “tourist centre of Cuu Long Delta”. Can Tho tourism is set to meet all criteria of a civilised and modern national delta city by 2020. 

Particularly in urban areas, the city will soon complete the construction of eco-tourism parks, amusement parks, Tay Do cultural centre, international conference centres and luxury hotels. Can Tho will also expand suburban space tourism with new restaurants and hotels, garden and rural tourism system with catering services; diversify tourism products, cuisine, shopping tours and weekend entertainment, to best meet the needs of visitors.

Additionally, Can Tho will continue to open new tourist destinations, inter-regional and international tours; to train professional staff with civilised and polite service style, striving to make Can Tho an "ideal – safe – friendly tourist destination", a home of “Mekong River Civilisation”.