Making the Most Out of Rural Garden Tours

4:58:46 PM | 1/29/2015

Located in the heart of the Mekong Delta with dozens of large-scale fruit garden attractions concentrated nearby in Cai Rang, Phong Dien, Binh Thuy, O Mon and Thot Not, Can Tho City is considered to have considerable potential in river and rural garden tourism development. Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho Tran Viet Phuong said: "In the future, rural garden tourism of Can Tho will be developed to serve all the needs of visitors."Hoang Lam reports.
Can you tell us more about the potential and advantages of rural garden tourism development of Can Tho? In recent years, how has this tourism potential been exploited, and has it been effective?
Rural garden tourism is the special product that Can Tho City, for many years, has been focused on exploiting efficiently, gaining remarkable results for the city's tourism sector. In particular, the number of tourists coming to Can Tho has increased by 12 percent a year on average; tourism revenue has reached VND1,000 billion, 8.3 times that in 2004, contributing actively to the socio-economic development of the locality.
Thanks to the dramatic increase in visitors and revenue, the tourism market of the city is increasingly expanding; tourism products are diversified and quality is gradually improved with various specific brands of Can Tho such as Cai Rang floating market, My Khanh tourist village, garden destinations including Hung Homestay, My Thuan, and Nguyen Shack, which have become destinations of many domestic and foreign tourists.
It can be seen that the advantages of Can Tho is its vast river system, fertile soil, cool climate, green trees, and orchards with ripe fruit all year round. The majority of visitors are interested in boating on the canals, catching fish and picking vegetables, so they are very excited about rural garden tourism. To exploit this potential, over the past time, some households in Phong Dien district have renovated their gardens and started successful home stay businesses, contributing to creating jobs and significantly raising incomes for people. At present, there are 13 garden points doing effective business.
Currently the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the city is continuing to monitor and support farmers to do rural garden tourism through professional assistance, surveys and direct comments to farmers, mechanisms and policies to support mortgage loan with low interest rates, and helping farmers to invest in tourism, switch from agriculture to agro-tourism and renovate gardens to maximise eco-tourism development.
However, according to the comments of many travel agents, most rural garden tourism destinations of Can Tho are located along small canals with poor road access and silted waterways, which greatly influences garden tours. What is the city planning to remove this shortcoming?
In this regard, Can Tho City People's Committee has a written communication assigning Binh Thuy district's People's Committee as investor to conduct projects planning, designing and dredging three canals connecting the sightseeing spots from Ninh Kieu District to Cai Rang floating market (Cai Rang district), Phong Dien and Binh Thuy. The estimation design stage has been completed; bidding procedure is being done; implementation is expected to take place in early 2015.
In addition, tourism in Can Tho is also developing additional river tours and connecting tours with suburban districts and neighbouring provinces such as Dong Thap and Vinh Long.
For Can Tho's tourism to develop commensurate with the available position and potential and to become an attractive and specific destination of the Mekong Delta, in the upcoming time, what kind of projects will the city focus on for calling investment?
In terms of difficult investment capital, identifying priority areas of investment is very important. Therefore sectors with tourism investment priority should have focus; service quality and capacity should be enhanced; investment in infrastructure should be increased; promotion and tourism image building should be fostered. On that basis, Can Tho will invite investors to conserve and promote Cai Rang floating market to agricultural product wholesale markets of the region, associating tourism development with conservation of the unique culture of Can Tho floating market. In addition, the city is calling investment in Con Son tourism spot (Binh Thuy district), Tan Loc Island eco-tourism spot (Thot Not district), and Phong Dien eco-tourism spot (Phong Dien district). The city is also calling for investment in constructing 5-star hotels, amusement parks and tourist night markets in Can Tho.
For Can Tho's tourism to develop in commensurate with its position and potential as well as to realize the above development orientations, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Can Tho City has sought advice from the city's People's Committee to further improve mechanisms and policies to encourage development, to strengthen cooperation between the public and private sector, to exploit the initiative and dynamism of businesses, communities and the connection role of professional associations, to strengthen quality control, to protect and promote brands, and to fully mobilize natural, human and capital resources. In addition, the city will also give attention to the application of science and technology in brand development and promotion, helping Can Tho city develop as it should, as a type 1 urban under the central government.