EXCLUSIVE: Ho Chi Minh City looks to business travel

10 Aug 2009

Vietnam’s commercial capital Ho Chi Minh City is banking on the continued growth of the business travel sector despite the economic downturn.

La Quoc Khanh, vice-director of the Ho Chi Minh City department of culture, sports and tourism, said that travellers to the city on business already accounted for 28 percent of overall arrivals.

The Asian Development Bank has forecast that Vietnam’s GDP growth rate this year will stand at 4.5 percent, the highest among Southeast Asian countries, and much higher compared to the average GDP growth of the region of 0.7percent.

“Foreign direct investment into Vietnam is continuing to fuel business travel into the country,” Kanh said.

He added that while 2008 general arrival figures into the country had remained static at just over 4.2 million, 2009 had shown a definite drop. One substantial decline had been noted among cross-border Chinese travellers, who do not need to use a passport for short trips.

However, Vietnam’s continued economic growth guaranteed the importance of incoming visitors for client and supplier visits, market reconnaissance as well as business meetings and events.

Khanh said that more would need to be done to make HCMC’s facilities acceptable to international business travellers but that already major enhancements had been made, such as the new terminal at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and the building of a new city subway system that would east inner-city congestion

Currently there are 12 five-star hotels in the city, offering 3,916 rooms, but only eight four-star properties, providing 1,220 rooms.

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Kenny Coyle

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