Awakening the potential of waterway tourism

(VEN) - Considering waterway tours as strategic tourism products in the 2011-2015 period, Ho Chi Minh City's tourism sector is concentrating on constructing a development plan aimed at gradually tapping this type of tourism so that it can contribute to the city's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), helping in tourism becoming a key economic sector. To awaken the potential of urban waterway tourism, the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee and departments concerned have carried out continuous surveys since the beginning of 2012 to collect the necessary data for planning. Surveys have been carried out from Bach Dang Port to Can Gio to prepare for developing stopover points on this tour line. Tours from Phu My Town of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province to Can Gio District in Ho Chi Minh City will be offered. The Ho Chi Minh City Culture, Sports and Tourism Department has prepared a research project on the issue. A feasibility study has been made regarding the development of waterway tours from Bach Dang … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City to have $5.9mn ‘river bus’ routes

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have approved a project to set up two inland waterway transport routes to carry passengers on boats from District 1 to District 6 and Thu Duc District, local media said. The two "river bus" routes will help ease the crowded traffic on roads, especially during rush hour, and contribute to the city’s waterway tourism development, the municipal People's Committee said. The total investment in the project is about VND128 billion (US$5.86 million) and the routes will be developed in the form of BOO (Build-Own-Operate). Daily Limited Company, a domestic business based in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, is the proposer of the project, according to Phap Luat TP. Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City Law) newspaper. The first route, Bach Dang-Linh Dong, will be 11km long and have seven stops, running from Bach Dang Quay on the Saigon River through District 1 and District 2 and Binh Thanh District via Thanh Da Canal to Binh Quoi Quay in Linh Dong … [Read more...]

Saigon zoo denies rumor that animals are booted out for property project

The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden has dismissed rumors circulating on the Internet recently that it will be relocated to free up the space for a tower project. "I am totally surprised by the rumor. There has not been a single document on the relocation of the animals or any construction project here," said Nguyen Khac Dung of the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department that manages the zoo in the city downtown, known to locals as Thao Cam Vien Saigon. Earlier, many netizens spread the story that Thao Cam Vien is moving its animals away for a construction project. There have even been several petitions online attracting thousands of signatures to protest such a move. Pictures of three old trees being cut down in the zoo have also spread widely as proof of the relocation. But Dung said that the trees were cut down to prevent possible collapses and the park’s management had obtained … [Read more...]

Sub-par Uber taxicab drivers meet tough sanctions

Ho Chi Minh City, the southern engine of growth, continues applying strong measures against taxicabs affiliated with Uber, which have allegedly impinged on business conditions. Illustration photo According to Le Hoang Minh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department, as of early June 2015, the department had detected and treated 160 cases of sub-par taxicabs fitted with the Uber software, generating fines of about VND671 million ($31,000). "Most of these taxi drivers using the Uber software were below par in respect to the business conditions and applicable standards set out for the transportation business," Minh commented. Of these cases, 69 did not have compulsory business registration certifications and 34 did not carry required taxicab signals. Minh also said that the city’s Transport Department has just recently received feedback relevant to Uber businesses in the city area from two out of five relevant state management agencies: the Department of … [Read more...]

Congestion on 1st day of banning vehicles from Saigon’s downtown

Serious traffic jams happened on many streets in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, the first of the three separate days of prohibiting vehicles from entering a designated area in the heart of the city in preparation for ceremonies to celebrate Reunification Day (April 30). >> Ho Chi Minh City expands vehicle-free zone for national reunification anniversary preparations Under the ban of the city transport authorities, all vehicles were blocked from entering the banned zone on April 24 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 am. This ban will be continued on April 26 and 30 from 4:00 am to 12:00 pm each. At 6:30 pm yesterday, thirty minutes before the ban was valid, traffic police and other relevant forces set up their checkpoints outside the banned area, surrounded by the streets of Cach Mang Thang Tam, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Nguyen Huu Canh, Ton Duc Thang, Ham Nghi, Le Lai, Pham Hong Thai and Cach Mang Thang Tam. Soon after that, congestion occurred on many routes outside the … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City taxis given three months to install ‘black box’

All taxi operators in Ho Chi Minh City must have a vehicle tracking device commonly known as the "black box" installed on their cabs no later than July 1, the municipal transport department said Saturday. The black box must be able to record such data as the path, speed, and time of travel, as well as the working time per day of the drivers, the Department of Transport insisted. Taxi firms must ensure that the tracking system works properly, with all recorded data required to be transferred to their servers and those of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam at the same time. The installation of the black box will enable taxi operators to better monitor the operations of their cabs, thus helping improve their service, the department explained. The Ho Chi Minh City transport department first suggested all taxis have a tracking device in June 2013, also in a bid to tighten the grip on taxi operations. It is already mandatory for vehicles including buses, passenger coaches, … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – February 28

Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, February 28, in Vietnamese media. Politics -- Vietnamese lawmakers discussed the need to ensure human rights for those under temporary detention or arrest, and address relevant shortcomings in this filed at a debate on the draft law on temporary detention and arrest on Friday, the last working day of the 35th session of the National Assembly's Standing Committee. Society -- Police from the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday they have detained and commenced legal proceedings against Phan Minh Nguyet, director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, on charges of "abusing position and power while on duty." Nguyet was former chairman and CEO of a Hanoi-based limited liable company before taking his post at the said department in January 2014. -- Authorities in Duc Hoa District of the southern province of Long An on Friday mobilized firefighters to destroy a large bee's nest from … [Read more...]

HCM City working to supply safe water

Thu Duc Water Plant (Source: The Ho Chi Minh City authorities is making efforts to supply safe water to all city residents this year. To realise this target, the municipal People’s Committee has directed the Transport Department to coordinate with the relevant offices to conduct surveys and make lists for households that do not have access to safe water in the city. The clean water supply will be monitored publicly in every district monthly. According to the plan, the city will provide safe water to more than 7,000 households in District 9 and the districts of Tan Binh and Thu Duc by the end of September.-VNA … [Read more...]

Uber requests more time for paperwork to legalize operations in Vietnam

Uber has asked Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport to give it more time to complete necessary procedures to legalize its operations, as Ho Chi Minh City traffic inspectors announced they have levied a considerable amount of fines on many Uber cars. On January 29, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport released a list of nine transport companies which are Uber partners, saying they will be inspected in the coming weeks. The ridesharing app announced on Wednesday it is "completing procedures to operate in compliance with the Vietnamese law," and needs more time to do so. The transport department has requested that Uber cars bear badges as per transportation law, and the San Francisco-based firm said it takes one to three days, and even longer in some cases, to apply for a badge from the department. The company thus demanded that the department prioritize some Uber partners who had submitted their badge applications. In order to legally operate as for-hire cars, Uber … [Read more...]

$1.3bn metro line project, 2nd in Ho Chi Minh City, breaks ground

The Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board on Thursday kicked off the first bid package of phase 1 of a US$1.3 billion metro project, which is the second in Ho Chi Minh City. >> 2nd station of Vietnam’s first metro line breaks ground Under the bid package the Hoa Binh Real Estate Construction and Trading Joint Stock Company, the project’s contractor, yesterday started work on an office building and its sub-works on a 22 hectare area at the Tham Luong railway station in District 12. The office is designed to have a basement and eight floors with a total gross floor area of more than 17,000 m2. The bid package, which is valued at over VND173 billion ($8.1 million), is expected to be completed in 480 days. The package belongs to phase 1 of the project to build the second metro line, which will be 20km long, running from Thu Thiem in District 2 to the An Suong Bus Station in District 12. In phase 1, an 11.3km section of the route will be built, … [Read more...]

Vietnam to build side road to stop drivers crossing expressway through drainage sewer

A road will be built on one side of the Ho Chi Minh City-Trung Luong expressway section in the southern province of Tien Giang to end a four-year situation in which residents get to the other side of the expressway by walking or driving inside a water drainage pipe underneath it, according to local authorities. >> Some favor the sewer over highway for shortcut Deputy director of the provincial Transport Department, Tran Van Bon, said on Wednesday that the Ministry of Transport has agreed to grant funds for the construction of a road that runs along the right side of the expressway, from Tan Thuong Bridge to flyover No. 4, which connects the two sides, in Tan Ly Dong Commune, Chau Thanh District. The department had earlier submitted to the ministry a proposal to build such a road to facilitate travel by local residents. The road will be 3.5 km long and 3.5 meters wide and will be paved, Bon said. The department has also worked with the district authorities on the future … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoi Tre News – January 3

Tuoi Tre News briefs you on some of the leading stories published today, January 3, in Vietnamese media. Society -- A large fire broke out at Ba Don Market in the central province of Quang Binh on early Friday morning. The blaze caused no casualties but burned down 24 stalls of 18 traders, causing a total damage of VND50 billion (US$2.33 million). The fire may have been caused by a short circuit or carelessly burning incense, authorities said. -- Vietnamese rescuers have saved one sailor and found the bodies of two others who were among the 19 crewmembers of the Bahama-flagged cargo ship Bulk Jupiter that sank off the coastal southern Vietnamese city of Vung Tau on Friday morning while on the way from Malaysia to China, the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Center reported on Friday. Rescue efforts to search for the 16 remaining sailors are underway. -- An earth quake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale rocked Bac Tra My District in the central province of Quang Nam … [Read more...]

Vietnam unveils taxi new apps to compete with Uber

A passenger takes a taxi in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Trung Hieu The Ho Chi Minh City Transportation Department has introduced a mobile application to connect passengers with local taxi firms after all but declaring war on Uber, the controversial online car booking service. According to the agency, smart phone users can install LiveTaxi to order a taxi. The agency claims the app functions just like Uber, but has the advantage of connecting passengers with drivers employed by registered taxi firms. The new app supposedly offers users a vast array of information, including a list of taxi drivers, their locations, their availability, passenger reviews, traffic conditions, etc. Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the HCMC Transportation Department, said that this was the time for taxi firms to promote the use of modern technology for the convenience of passengers in the digital age. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities are rushing to create regulations for Uber, following … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City may collect annual road fees from motorcyclists early 2015

Ho Chi Minh City authorities expect to begin collecting an annual road maintenance fee of up to VND150,000 (US$7) from motorcyclists early next year. >> Ho Chi Minh City bikers may have to pay road fees next year The city is now the only locality in Vietnam to have yet to levy the fee on motorbike riders. The city People’s Committee has sent a proposal to the local People’s Council asking the latter to consider and approve the collection of such a fee from motorcyclists as of January 1, 2015. The proposal is expected to be discussed at the 17th session of the People’s Council that is slated for December 30. According to that plan, the fee will be collected pursuant to Government Decree 18/2012 dated March 13, 2012 on the establishment, management, and use of the Road Maintenance Fund. Under the decree, users of motorized vehicles were supposed to pay a road maintenance fee, which was intended to feed the fund, from June 1, 2012, but the government … [Read more...]

Uber says it ‘has been misunderstood’ after Vietnam fines ridesharing drivers

Uber has taken to the Internet to "clarify a few things" after its service in Ho Chi Minh City was dealt a tough hand last week. A regional executive of the operator of the namesake ridesharing app that connects drivers and passengers worldwide said in a blog post on the company’s website on Saturday that Uber’s service "has been misunderstood" in the southern Vietnamese metropolis, and listed five things he believes need to be made clear. Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday launched a sudden crackdown on Uber cars, and eventually imposed fines on five ridesharing drivers using the car-sharing service app, which arranges rides between drivers and passengers. Traffic inspectors besieged the Uber cars shortly before the passengers stepped out, or stopped the vehicles en route on several streets in the city for checks. Passengers of all five cases admitted to police they had picked up the cars via Uber, officially making the ridesharing drivers law … [Read more...]

HCMC transport dept. asked to eliminate flood-prone areas next year

The Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department must eliminate all areas vulnerable to inundation within the next year, the city People's Committee Vice Chairman, Nguyen Huu Tin, directed Tuesday. >> Saigonese struggle with severe flooding after rain, again (photos) >> Rising river severely floods Vietnam's southern hub (photos) >> HCMC flooded by rain for 4th day in row The vice chairman gave the order at a meeting with the transport department and other relevant agencies to discuss urgent solutions to the city's ongoing flooding issues. "No matter what you say, all of the flood-prone areas must be eliminated next year," Tin said, in response to the difference in the numbers of such areas reported by the department and the Anti-Flooding Program Operation Center. The department raised the number to 27, while the center affirmed that the figure is only 11. The city has 58 flooded areas in 2011, a figure that was recently reduced to 11 and will be completely eliminated in 2015, … [Read more...]

HCMC to build $47-mln railway bridge over river

The Ho Chi Minh City Transport Department has set up a project to build a railway bridge over the Saigon River to replace the current Binh Loi bridge that was built 112 years ago. >> US agency grants $900,000 to urban railway project in HCMC In a relevant report to the city People's Committee, the department said it is collecting opinions from other competent agencies about the project that will cost about VND1,000 billion (US$47 million). The project had previously been expected to break ground this month and to be completed within 15 months. The new railway facility is a section of the railway system that connects Trang Bom District in the southern Dong Nai province to the Hoa Hung railway station in Ho Chi Minh City. The new bridge will be 521.2 meters long and will run parallel with and will be 90 meters apart from the existing Binh Loi Bridge on Pham Van Dong Street, which links Binh Thanh and Thu Duc districts. The current railway bridge, which was built in 1902, has … [Read more...]

Breakfast @ Tuoitrenews – April 19

Below are some of the main stories published today, April 19, in the Vietnamese press. Politics -- Hanoi on Friday elected three new Vice Chairmen for its People's Committee at the ninth meeting of the People's Council. The newly-elected include Le Hong Son, member of the municipal Party Standing Committee and former Deputy Minister of Justice; Le Quoc Hung, Director of the municipal Department of Transport; and Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Chairman of the Hanoi Housing Development and Investment Corporation. Society -- At a press conference held on Friday by the Ministry of Health to clarify some issues related to measles that has spread to 61 of the country's total 63 provinces and cities and caused 116 deaths, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said the Ministry has yet to declare the measles an epidemic. However, he said, the Ministry has publicly announced the wide spread of the disease. -- More than 1,000 liters of acid contained in one of the four … [Read more...]

Vietnam loses on ODA because of high project prices, says former official

Rendering of a bridge on a section of the North-South Highway which links Ben Luc Town in the Mekong Delta and Long Thanh District, Dong Nai Province. The construction of this highway section, which is slated for beginning this year, is funded partly by Japanese aids. Vietnam should hire foreign consultants to assess bids for ODA-funded projects because there is a lack of local capacity and the country is losing by accepting ODA even when firms in donor countries quote very high prices, former deputy construction minister Pham Sy Liem tells Vietweek. A Japanese company executive has recently alleged he paid bribes to get ODA project contracts in Vietnam. What are the shortcomings in tender management that allow these things to happen? Pham Sy Liem: Some ODA donors, including Japan, stipulate that contractors of ODA projects should be firms from their country or Vietnam. Some other donors require international tenders to choose contractors for the projects. If … [Read more...]