On February 7 and 8, Saigontourist welcomed the Europa cruise ship, which belongs to Hapag Lloyd Cruises and brought more than 350 German passengers to Saigon port (Ho Chi Minh City). The passengers of the Europa cruise ship will visit tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, experience the bustling atmosphere of the Lunar New Year, and explore the Cu Chi tunnels during the 28th and 29th days of the Lunar December.
From February 14 (the 5th day of the Lunar New Year) to February 18, the international cruise ship Celebrity Solstice (belonging to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines) is expected to return with 3,000 passengers from the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Asia, and other countries to Vietnam for a 5-day journey through Vietnam, stopping at Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Hue, and Ha Long ports.
After docking, international passengers will have the option to choose from various sightseeing tours provided by Saigontourist. In Nha Trang, there will be a program to visit cultural and historical attractions, experience nature, and relax at famous beaches.
“In Ba Ria – Vung Tau, the passengers will visit the coastal city of Vung Tau or experience the water world of My Tho, Tien Giang in the Mekong Delta, and explore the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. In Ha Long, tourists will experience kayaking to admire the beautiful scenery in Ha Long Bay and visit magnificent caves,” said a Saigontourist spokesperson.
During the Lunar New Year period alone, Saigontourist welcomes approximately 15,000 international passengers arriving by sea on ships operated by Royal Caribbean Group, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and Crystal Cruises. In the first two months of this year, more than 30,000 international passengers arrived by sea through Saigontourist, a 15% increase compared to the same period last year.
According to travel companies, this is a positive signal for cruise tourism at the beginning of the new year.
Mr. Phan Xuan Anh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vietnam Cruise Company (which specializes in welcoming international cruise ships), said that the demand for international passengers to Vietnam by sea has increased significantly. Even in his company’s segment, the number of passengers has exceeded the pre-COVID-19 period. If in the past, Asian tourists rarely chose to travel by cruise ship, now tourists from the Philippines, Thailand, etc., are traveling much more frequently. Many families also choose to travel by cruise ship after COVID-19.
According to statistics from the General Statistics Office, in January 2024, Vietnam welcomed 1.5 million international visitors, including about 48,400 cruise ship passengers, which is 8.6 times higher compared to the same period last year. Regarding Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Phan Xuan Anh also mentioned that the number of cruise ship passengers coming to the city has increased significantly recently, with his company experiencing a 20% increase compared to the period before COVID-19.
“This is a positive signal for the tourism industry and also requires us to seize the opportunity to better exploit this customer segment. This is a high-spending segment, so the destinations need to be researched more to create more products and experiences for them to enjoy,” said Mr. Phan Xuan Anh.