Spending boom as foreign tourists linger longer in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City authorities are stepping up efforts to give foreigners more reason to extend their stay in Vietnam’s premier metropolis as they rake in higher tourism revenues.

They are encouraged by the impressive rise in number of foreign arrivals in the city. In 2017, the city welcomed 6.36 million foreigners, up 22.8 percent against 2016. And the welcome news for the tourism sector is that they are staying longer and spending more.

The results of a survey on the city’s tourism market, released on June 15, shows that international visitors spent $145 a day on average last year, equivalent to the amount they spent in 2016 in Thailand and well below that of Singapore ($254), Beijing ($242) and Taipei ($208), based on an official data from the Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017 compiled by MasterCard. 

The corresponding amount for domestic tourists in Vietnam was $69.4. The survey was conducted by the city’s tourism department and the Statistics Bureau.

The city of skyscrapers and French heritage buildings has plenty more to offer globetrotters, helping prolong their stay to 5.21 days on average, while locals only stay for 3.6 days, the survey showed.

Up to 48 percent of the foreign tourists surveyed said they spent four to seven days exploring the city, and 40 percent stayed for up to eight days.

Last year, the city’s tourism authorities stepped up efforts to have foreign visitors stay on for longer, launching a range of attractive events.

Most notably, Bui Vien Street, the city’s most popular backpacker hangout, was turned into a walking zone  on weekend nights. Mutiple entertainment activities were also held here.

In addition, the city’s first river bus tour officially opened to traffic in late November, connecting Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 and Linh Dong Station in Thu Duc District, passing through District 2 and Binh Thanh District.

While the city is beset with the problems of traffic chaos and street crime, it has proved to a very popular destination with something special for everyone.

It was named one of the friendliest[1] destinations for solo travelers earlier last year by Airbnb, while top U.S. lifestyle magazine Food and Wine named it an ideal place for retiree travelers[2].

Price of Travel, a travel cost database, in 2017 ranked HCMC the world’s third cheapest city[3], where backpackers only need $18.33 a day for meals, beer, a place to stay, public transport and an entrance fee to a top attraction.

The U.K. respected travel site Rough Guides last April released a list of eight best night experiences in Southeast Asia, and Ho Chi Minh City was named the place[4] to go for a good nightlife experience.


  1. ^ friendliest (e.vnexpress.net)
  2. ^ retiree travelers (e.vnexpress.net)
  3. ^ third cheapest city (e.vnexpress.net)
  4. ^ place (e.vnexpress.net)