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Ho Chi Minh City needs more toilets to retain tourists

Ho Chi Minh City needs more toilets to retain tourists

Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 22:43 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City needs more toilets to retain tourists
A degraded and dirty public restroom on Ham Nghi Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City faced a lack of public restrooms, which is exacerbated by the deteriorating state of the current ones, despite being a popular tourist city.

Ho Chi Minh City ranks 67th out of 69 for public restroom quality on the list of the most popular tourist cities in the world, Nikkei Asia cited rankings by QS Supplies, a company that sells toilets, in a report released last month.

Public restrooms insufficient, degraded

Ho Chi Minh City is a well-known tourist city in domestic and international tourism.

The city welcomed some 65,000 international tourists during the Lunar New Year, or Tet, holiday last month, according to the municipal Department of Tourism.

Its tourism revenue in January surged 98.7 percent year on year.

However, public toilets in the city remain a bottleneck to tourism development. It is facing a severe shortage of public toilets.

On busy streets, such as De Tham and Bui Vien in District 1, and Vo Van Tan and Pham Ngoc Thach in District 3, there are no public restrooms.

Meanwhile, some restrooms on Tu Xuong and Le Quy Don Streets in District 3 are regularly closed.

To find a restroom, tourists and local residents have to visit restaurants, coffee shops or trade centers.

In addition, many public toilets in the city are seriously deteriorated.

On Ham Nghi Street in District 1 and Le Hong Phong Street in District 10, public restrooms are smelly with many broken facilities, making tourists and residents hesitant or afraid of going inside.

Having stayed in Ho Chi Minh City for over a week, Knut Garvik, a 32-year-old man from the UK, said, “I sometimes use public restrooms. Some are good while some are quite good.

“However, it’s hard to find a public toilet. I have to travel for a long way to seek one.”

In many areas, there are no public restrooms on two to three streets.

Walking nearly one kilometer to find a public toilet, Christine Chen, 23, from Taiwan, said, “My friends and I came to Bui Vien Walking Street for entertainment but could not find a public toilet there.

“We asked local residents for help and they told me the nearest one was at the 23-9 Park, which is far away.”

A kiosk for trade in association with a free-of-charge public toilet service has local residents’ support. Photo: Luu Duyen / Tuoi Tre

A kiosk for trade in association with a free-of-charge public toilet service. Photo: Luu Duyen / Tuoi Tre

Moreover, public toilets are scarce on major streets in the city’s inlying area, such as on Truong Chinh, Cong Hoa, Dien Bien Phu, Pham Van Dong, Nguyen Van Linh, and Vo Van Kiet. 

The shortage of public toilets causes an inconvenience not only for travelers but also local residents. 

Working as a driver in the downtown area, Nguyen Tan Thien, a 27-year-old resident in Phu Nhuan District, said that “public toilets may be found in District 1 or District 3. It’s hard to find one in other districts.

“In urgent cases, we have to urinate in bushes along the streets.” 

“I hope the city will build more clean and modern public toilets like those in District 1 to serve local residents."

Public toilets hindering tourism development

As economic and cultural activities in the city have been gradually restored after the COVID-19 pandemic and the city focuses on boosting tourism, the development of a well-spread modern public toilet network is an urgent need. 

In the 'Residents Ask-The City Answers' program on Sunday, Le Truong Hien Hoa, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, said the municipal tourism authorities pay great attention to public toilets, especially after the pandemic. 

The city currently has 51 public toilets and the department has also repeatedly coordinated with districts to review, assess, invest in, and develop public restrooms. 

A representative of Ho Chi Minh City Voluntary Youth Construction and Investment Company reported that the company is managing 44 public toilets in the city.

The toilets are tidied up and cleaned every day. 

The company often inspects and supervises the operation of these public toilets and handles toilet managers failing to comply with rules. 

In 2023, the company will draw up plans to build more public toilets.

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Thanh Ha - Luu Duyen - Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre News


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