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Ho Chi Minh City seeks to become medical tourism hub

Ho Chi Minh City seeks to become medical tourism hub

Thursday, February 23, 2023, 09:30 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City seeks to become medical tourism hub
Foreign visitors still complain about the service quality at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City is investing in human resources to turn itself into a medical tourism destination in the Southeast Asian region, said chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Phan Van Mai.

At a roundtable meeting between Ho Chi Minh City leadership and foreign business associations in the city on Wednesday, Alain Cany, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), said Ho Chi Minh City has great potential to become a leading tourism destination in the region and tourism will contribute substantially to the city’s economic recovery and development.

However, it is important to amend visa policies so that the sector can sustain the growth momentum. 

“The visa waiver period [for foreigners entering Vietnam] should be extended from 15 to 30 days and the policy should be applied to citizens of all European Union countries,” the EuroCham Vietnam chairman said.

He added that EuroCham had also received many visitors’ complaints about their unsatisfactory experience at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

They have to wait for hours due to an unreasonable arrangement.

Despite being a large airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport has no lanes for business class passengers, investors, and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourists. 

Many investors also wondered when Vietnam will reinstate the three-month multiple entry visa policy which was applied before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cany noted.

Leaders of foreign business associations in Ho Chi Minh City propose many solutions to improve the quality of life in the city. Photo: N.Binh / Tuoi Tre
Leaders of foreign business associations in Ho Chi Minh City propose many solutions to improve the quality of life in the city. Photo: N.Binh / Tuoi Tre

James Ollen, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Ho Chi Minh City, emphasized that the southern Vietnamese metropolis’ infrastructure has hindered its production and tourism activities.

He suggested the city should pay more attention to reforming the investment environment to attract new investors and maintain and develop existing investments, adding that a favorable investment environment is fair, transparent and predictable.

“Our members attach great importance to plans to improve traffic infrastructure facilities in the southern region.

“However, these plans should be executed and accelerated as part of the region’s supply corridors to boost the connectivity among economic zones.

“Industrial parks should be easily accessed through expressways, while the congestion on the ways to the under-construction Long Thanh International Airport [in Ho Chi Minh City’s neighboring province of Dong Nai], Cat Lat Port [in Thu Duc City, under Ho Chi Minh City], and Cai Mep Terminal [in neighboring Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province] should be eased,” Ollen added.

The AmCham representative had a high opinion of opportunities to turn Ho Chi Minh City into a medical tourism destination.

A representative of the German Business Association (GBA) also voiced his concern over the regulation forcing employees of restaurants and hotels to wear face masks while on duty. 

He said that wearing face masks while serving travelers will create an unfriendly impression, while the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam is almost successfully controlled. 

Therefore, he proposed that employees of restaurants and hotels should not wear face masks while working.

At the meeting, Ho Chi Minh City chairman Phan Van Mai appreciated the role of foreign business associations in supporting the city in achieving post-pandemic economic recovery and development targets in 2022.

Regarding the proposal that laborers in the local hospitability sector should not wear face masks while working, he said the city will review and report the proposal to the Ministry of Health to create the most possible favorable conditions for enterprises. 

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Thanh Ha - N.Binh / Tuoi Tre News

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