Night time activities
The Chairman of the Vietravel Tourism Company believes that by introducing night time activities tourists will be well served with fun entertainment that is still lacking in the country. Many surveys show that daytime tourism activities bring in about 30% of revenue, but almost 70% of crucial revenue comes from night time activities. Ho Chi Minh City attracts upto 50% of all international visitors and night time activities will contribute about 5% to 8% towards the GDP of Ho Chi Minh City.
Currently, the resources to develop night time activities in Ho Chi Minh City are rather inadequate. Nguyen Hue Street, the backpacker area around Bui Vien Street and some restaurants in the Bach Dang wharf area are all there is to offer foreign tourists. Most visitors to these places are Vietnamese, not foreign tourists, therefore many more facilities need to be looked into while developing a night economy. At night, Ho Chi Minh City has many high-end bars in five star hotels, but not all visitors have access to these places, and cannot be an inclusion when considering developing of a night economy.
Some neighbouring countries, territories around Vietnam, such as Thailand and Taiwan, have a flourishing night economy. Almost all tourists visiting Thailand and Taiwan make it a point to visit the night markets there and enjoy the culinary delights and local shopping. However, Ho Chi Minh City does not have a proper night market, and that is probably the reason why tourists do not spend too much time in the City.
Recently, the Department of Tourism in Ho Chi Minh City offered two solutions for developing night time economic activities. Firstly, there is need to improve the quality of personnel, services, venues while ensuring safety and security. Secondly, there is also need to develop products and services to offer in night time activities, such as well choreographed cultural and artistic performances and world class food and shopping areas.
Change old ways
In recent years, Ho Chi Minh City has consistently launched new tourism products such as creating an Oriental Medicine Street, the Gold and Silver Street, and an Inner City Waterway System on Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal. These features have not created the necessary excitement to attract visitors. With new products failing to attract and old destinations no longer attractive, and even the famous Ben Thanh Market remaining static in its style and features, Ho Chi Minh City is struggling to find ways to attract tourists.
Therefore, developing a robust and fun night economy requires persistence, creativity, and a necessity. The downside of a night economy will likely be security and tackling bad elements. This will be difficult, but the right efforts will need to be put in place which will require more active participation of authorities. Making all locations safe for visitors to move around freely without fear of any bad incidents must be of high priority.
There also will have to be a curb on the development of other sensitive services that seemingly flourish only at night, such as discotheques, bars, karaoke joints, and related nightlife venues. Current regulations ban activities such as prostitution, betting, and gambling, but in reality all such activities do take place in almost all parts of the City. In coming time, the Ministry of Justice will survey, study and build an effective mechanism to implement a policy of action for such sensitive services and may even legalize some forms of adult entertainment activities to attract more foreign tourists.
With the unabated spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe, the tourism industry in almost all countries has fallen drastically and more effort will have to be made to revive it back to normal with a complete new start. There is some expectation that by June 2021, international visitors will once again be able to travel to Vietnam. This will then be the most favorable time for the City to join hands with other units and plan a detailed and step by step approach to developing a fun filled, vibrant and safe night economy.
When the number of international visitors increase they must be welcomed with many more attractive products and services. Speaking with Saigon Investment, Mr. Dang Manh Phuoc, Director of the Outbox Consulting Tourism Destination Development and Research Company, emphasized that in order to welcome guests again we must prepare interesting features within the tourism industry along with ensuring full safety, because if we once again offer the same old features and operate in the same old ways, we are bound to lose in all our promotional efforts.