Vietnam has more than 3,260 km of coastline, many beaches and bays honored in the world, has the advantage of tourism. However, international visitors to Vietnam by sea are still limited in the number of less than five % of total international visitors to Vietnam. According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the reason is that Vietnam is currently receiving guests through the cargo port, commercial port and has no port for tourist service. In addition, poor infrastructure; insufficient staff of cruise travel unprofessional tour organizing has also hindered the local tourism development.
In fact, cruise tourism in Vietnam will be difficult to develop if international tourists traveling by sea must be transported by canoes or small boat to shore, which not only takes time but is unsafe as well.
Difficulties such as infrastructure and port construction need to have a strategic and long term solution. However, VNAT has set a target that by 2015, Vietnam will welcome one million visitors by sea. Therefore, Vietnam needs to work out concrete actions soon to achieve the objectives.
According to Mr Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in addition to linking with foreign investors, international institutions and organizations having the advantage of cruise tourism organizing such as: Singapore and some Nordic countries which are doing research in investing in infrastructure of Vietnam's sea tourism, Vietnam needs to have time for investment activities in infrastructure construction as well as to develop a interdisciplinary project, combining local and central government. Furthermore, Vietnam should implement immediate solutions in their ability such as improving their service quality, more professional service to avoid begging, causing loss of sympathy for visitors, or increase the time of staying on the shore for visitors to have advantages in being issued the travel ticket. In coming years, the cruise tourism will be the focus of government as well as Vietnam's tourism industry.
Currently, in Vietnam, there are not many Vietnam Travel companies having cruise customer service departments. The top companies are Quang Ninh Travel and Hong Tan which regularly welcome passenger from ships of North America, Western Europe, and South East Asia. Next was a group of six companies in Quang Ninh together sharing of Chinese visitors visiting the North in two routes: Bac Hai - Halong and Hai Nam - Halong. In addition, some businesses in the Central receive visitors from Saigon Tourist or Tan Hong when cruise ships visit the port of Quy Nhon, Chan May, Cua Viet (Quang Tri).
To promote cooperation in cruise tourism development, Saigon Tourist Travel Company together with 16 international travel companies, has met and discussed to establish network of cruise travel services in Asia. It is expected that in the early 2010, these companies will meet again to sign agreement as well as set out detailed action plans. It can be said that the promoting of tourism cooperation between Saigon Tourist with international tourism companies (from some countries such as Japan, Maldives, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, etc.) will make great contribution to tourism development of Vietnam cruise tourism. Cruise has always been strong point of Saigon Tourist Travel Company. In 2009, Saigon Tourist welcomed more than 75,000 cruise tourists (visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Halong).