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People support strapped Saigon zoo with increased visits despite higher ticket prices

People support strapped Saigon zoo with increased visits despite higher ticket prices

Saturday, January 02, 2021, 11:26 GMT+7
People support strapped Saigon zoo with increased visits despite higher ticket prices
People visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Despite higher ticket prices, people flocked to the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Thao Cam Vien) in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, the first day of the ongoing three-day New Year holiday, in an effort to help the Vietnam’s oldest zoo raise ticket sales that have been hit severely by COVID-19.

Starting January 1, ticket prices at the zoo, located in District 1, have been increased from VND30,000 (US$1.3) to VND40,000 ($1.7) apiece for visitors under 1.3m tall and from VND50,000 ($2.16) to VND60,000 ($2.6) apiece for those above that height.

Visitors under one meter tall is waived from paying entrance tickets.

The increased ticket prices appeared to be no big deal to people’s demand for a tour around the zoo.

A large number of visitors started queuing at the zoo’s entrance since Friday morning.

Many of them even prepared food and drink to spend the whole day at the venue, which also offered children games, circus and music performances on Friday.

Ticket sales as of Friday afternoon had hiked by five times compared to a normal Saturday and doubled from a usual Sunday, according to Pham Van Tan - director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

People visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
People visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

“Thao Cam Vien is close to the city’s center, with fresh air and comfortable space. I often bring my wife and children here to play on holidays. This is a good and safe choice as you don’t need to go too far from the city,” said Nguyen Tien Chung, a visitor from Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh District.

Not simply finding a good place for his family to enjoy the New Year holiday, Dinh Cong Anh, a man from southern Dong Nai Province - which takes about 50 minutes of driving to the zoo, said that the higher ticket prices are still reasonable, compared to other amusement parks, and necessary for helping the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens overcome obstacles during the pandemic. 

This is the first time that Anh’s family has been to the Vietnam’s oldest zoo.

In the same opinion to Anh’s, Cao Nhu Quynh, a woman from Ho Chi Minh City’s Thu Duc District, said that it is fundamental to raise the ticket prices in order to ensure the supply of animal feed and payment of staff salaries at the zoo.

“There are thousands of animals in the zoo and it is important to take care of them,” Quynh said.

People visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
People visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

At 155 years old, Thao Cam Vien is the oldest zoo in Vietnam and one of the oldest still in operation in the world.

The zoo is rearing nearly 1,600 animals and growing 2,600 trees, an increase of nearly 45 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, compared to 2015.

Earlier, the venue was closed for nearly two months from March to May 2020 to prevent to spread of COVID-19, and started to welcome visitors in July in the same year before being hit again by the pandemic.

Previously, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens reached more than VND330 million ($14,200) in daily revenue but the amount slumped to VND15 million ($645) over the pandemic.

Its staff even voluntarily donated 30 percent of their salary to buy foods for the animals.

A family visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A family visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
Children play at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
Children play at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A boy plays at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
A boy plays at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, January 1, 2021. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre

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