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Chinese tourists return to Ho Chi Minh City

Sunday, March 19, 2023, 10:02 GMT+7
Chinese tourists return to Ho Chi Minh City
A group of Chinese tourists wearing 'ao dai' (Vietnamese traditional costume) pose for a photo at the Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on March 17, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

A group of 16 visitors from Shanghai arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, placing them among the first Chinese travelers to come back to Vietnam following China’s resumption of outbound group tours to the Southeast Asian country starting from March 15.

Ho Chi Minh City is the first destination in their eight-day and seven-night itinerary in Vietnam.

After the southern metropolis, the tourists will head to Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Mui Ne, three tourist hotspots in Vietnam’s Central Highlands and central regions, and later return to Ho Chi Minh City.

At the Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the Chinese vacationers wore ao dai (Vietnamese traditional costume) and non la (the iconic Vietnamese conical hats) while being briefed on this tourist attraction.

A member of the group told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his last outbound trip before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out was to Vietnam.

After China dropped restrictions on overseas tours for its citizens, he and his relatives also opted to visit Vietnam as their first outbound trip post-pandemic.

“I want to explore more beautiful beach destinations in Vietnam such as Nha Trang and Mui Ne during my return to this country,” he said.

Chinese tourists are exploring Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the first destination on their eight-day and seven-night tour to Vietnam. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Chinese tourists are pictured exploring the Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, the first destination on their eight-day and seven-night tour to Vietnam. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Besides the Saigon Central Post Office, the Chinese tourist group visited many other destinations in the city and bought lots of souvenirs, including ao dai sets.

The return of Chinese group tours is considered a positive signal that will help revive travel firms, said Le Hong Tu, director of BT Tour Company.

Since the end of last month, the company has worked with its partners to make preparations to welcome back the Chinese visitors.

“As Chinese tourists are raring to travel abroad again, we received bookings for group tours right after the Chinese government resumed outbound travel. We sped up efforts to prepare for the return of Chinese travelers,” Tu said.

Two Chinese pose for a photo with 'ao dai' (Vietnamese traditional costume) at the Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on March 17, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Two Chinese pose for a photo with 'ao dai' (Vietnamese traditional costume) at the Saigon Central Post Office in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on March 17, 2023. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

After the first group of Chinese tourists to the city, a number of travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City have also received requests for quotes.

The city is expected to serve more Chinese tourist groups this month, adding that next month would be hectic to serve tourists from the market.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman of Vietravel Holdings -- a Vietnamese provider of travel, aviation, and other related services -- said Chinese travelers prefer beach destinations with white sand and crystal clear water, but there is still much room for major shopping hubs like Ho Chi Minh City to woo visitors from this market.

Popular destinations in Vietnam need to closely work with travel agencies that are capable of receiving and offering quality services to foreign visitors, Ky suggested.

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N.Binh - Minh Duy / Tuoi Tre News

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