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Green light for HCMC tourism department

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently approved the re-establishment of the Department of Tourism by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

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The Prime Minister gave the green light for Ho Chi Minh City to set up a Department of Tourism, just one month after the city submitted its proposal.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Tourism was first founded in August 1993, but was later merged with the national level Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in June 2008.

According to local media report, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has assigned the city’s People’s Committee to complete procedures for the department’s establishment, according to a directive released by the Government Office.

Last month, city authorities submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister, seeking permission to create a separate department in charge of tourism activities from the municipal Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

The department is expected to help the municipal People’s Committee implement state management functions of the tourism industry. Examples include making decisions and suggestions on handling infringements of local and foreign individuals and organizations in the city.

The Department of Tourism will also cooperate with local authorities to launch measures to ensure security and protect public order, hygiene and environmental sanitation.

Earlier, the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported difficulties in management of tourism activities due to rapid growth, workload and limited workforce.

In addition, working efficiency of tourism inspectors was not high after they were merged with inspectors of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and had to cover many tasks. Therefore, Ho Chi Minh City needs to have an independent department for tourism operations to increase management efficiency.

The southern commercial hub welcomes around 20 million visitors on an annual basis.

The number of international holidaymakers visiting Ho Chi Minh City accounts for 60% of Vietnam’s foreign arrivals, while the city’s tourism revenues make up 45% of the country’s total figure.

Last year, Ho Chi Minh City welcomed 4.1 million international tourists an increase of 8.1% over 2012. This year, the city’s tourism sector estimates arrivals could reach 4.4 million, up 7% against 2013, or about 55% of total international visitors to Vietnam.

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