Waterway tourism development in Da Nang is a promising opportunity for the city’s economic growth. According to projections, by 2023, the number of waterway visitors is expected to surpass 897,000 passengers, a 29.6% increase compared to the figures from 2019. Most waterway tourists travel on the Han River route, specifically on the Tran Thi Ly bridge and Han River – Hon Chao. However, there is an opportunity to develop waterway tourism in the city further to match its potential and advantages.
Lots of potential for developing waterway tourism
Da Nang City has a significant potential for economic waterway tourism, with a long river system of 63.2km comprising seven rivers, including national inland waterways such as Han River and Vinh Dien River, and local inland waterways like Cu De River, Cam Le River, Tuy Loan River, Yen River, and Qua Giang River.
To boost tourism, Da Nang has recently planned and developed nine inland waterway transport routes, including the Han River – Tran Thi Ly bridge route (4km), Han River – estuary – Son Tra Peninsula (8km), Han River – Hon Chao, Han River – Cu Lao Cham (50km), Han River – Ngu Hanh Son (13.5km), Han River – Cam Le – Tuy Loan – Thai Lai (20.2km), Cu De – Truong Dinh river (10.4km), Han River – Vinh Dien (15.2km), and Son Tra Peninsula area route.
The Han River, which flows through the city center, offers an opportunity to exploit inland waterway tourism and connect to the sea, thus connecting with Hoi An (Quang Nam province) through the Co Co River. Moreover, the waterway from Da Nang Bay can be expanded to connect with Cu Lao Cham (Quang Nam) and Ly Son Island (Quang Ngai).
The banks of the Han River feature several significant places, including many historical and cultural relics and modern works.
According to the Chairman of the Da Nang Historical Science Association Bui Van Tieng, tourists traveling by boat on the river can enjoy the beauty of the Thuan Phuoc Bridge and Song Han Bridge, visit the Quai Courbet – Bach Dang road, and explore French architectural works such as the Da Nang Museum, Da Nang General Library, and Dien Hai Citadel national monument.
Creating competitive advantages by diversifying products and services on ships and building sightseeing programs on waterways.
The region boasts a wealth of natural advantages, cultural and historical relics, and a strategic geographical location, creating ideal conditions for waterway tourism development. According to Mr Bui Van Tieng, the connection between Cua Han (Da Nang) and Cua Dai (Hoi An) served as an essential trade route during Cochinchina’s prosperous period of foreign trade. Similarly, the connection between the Son Tra peninsula and Cu Lao Cham is a reminder of the wild and prehistoric days of ancient times.
By 2023, Da Nang anticipates having 19 businesses with 26 cruise ships, qualified to operate between 30 to 100 seats or more, with a total capacity of more than 2,000 seats.
Da Nang City has opened the inland waterway route CT15 – Hon Sup, Bai Da – Bai Nam, and is actively promoting the effective exploitation of the Han River – Tran Thi Ly bridge route to increase the number of tourists by waterway, which plays a crucial role in the city’s tourism growth.
Invest in transport infrastructure and waterway tourism to boost the economy and enhance tourism
The waterways tourism industry has flourished in many countries, including Singapore, Italy, France, and America. This industry primarily utilizes various types of water vessels, such as yachts, restaurant ships, accommodation ships, and sailboats. Urban areas near riverside or seaside areas invest in developing yachts, accommodation boats, and personal yachts. Additionally, there is a focus on investing in ports and harbors near tourist destinations connected to inland waterways to make it easier for tourists to travel by road and subway.
According to the shipping schedules of Da Nang Port Joint Stock Company, Da Nang is expected to welcome 45 cruise ships with over 40,000 passengers in 2024.
Mr. Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of the Da Nang Tourism Association, has expressed concerns regarding technical service system issues at some seaports. Many ships cannot dock at the port because they must give way to cargo ships. There are still some difficulties and problems in waterway technical infrastructure, such as the absence of a specialized seaport, Song Han port being only a temporary port for tourism, and slow planning and investment in the construction of ports.
Submitting to competent authorities for approval has many prescribed procedures. It takes a long time, and many projects still need to have their planning approved to ensure a basis for investment implementation. Additionally, some regulations on inland waterway transport differ from reality and do not ensure business conditions to operate tourist accommodation ships or high-class cruise ships.
According to Mr. Dang Hoa, former Chairman of the City Waterway Tourism Transport Association, exploiting waterway tourism in Da Nang has many advantages; along the river routes associated with many historical and cultural relics, Further away is the Han River – Hon Chao route, this route is attractive, but there is no pier to stop or get on or off. Therefore, it is necessary to have a certain number of tourist stops. At the same time, it is essential to carefully study the terrain and channels to reduce the risk of seasickness for tourists.
To overcome problems and promote the potential advantages of waterway tourism, in December 2023, the People’s Committee of Da Nang City approved the Project to develop inland waterway tourism in Da Nang City until 2030, with a vision to 2045.
Specifically, the city will continue to invest in perfecting Song Han port into a leading port serving tourism meeting international standards; Invest in synchronous construction of inland waterway piers to serve as departure and arrival wharves on waterways; Infrastructure planning, development of diverse types of high-speed boats, tourist accommodation ships, and yachts. Expanding the exploitation of waterways connecting with localities in the Central region; Strongly develop types of tourist boats, personal yachts, and high-speed boats.
According to the People’s Committee of Da Nang City plan, waterway tourism development will be associated with diversifying tourism products, increasing spending, and prolonging tourists’ stay. At the same time, it enhances the management role of waterway tourism management agencies to ensure the development of quality and sustainable products. Da Nang will propose ministries and branches issue a tourism marketing strategy that integrates waterway tourism activities to increase capital attraction from international organizations so businesses can invest, exploit, and develop Inland waterway port serving tourism.
Investing in a berth to anchor boats and combining pick-up and drop-off of passengers with commercial and service activities on waterway tours is a highly recommended venture.
In this regard, the Tourism Development Promotion Fund, Tourism Association, and Transport Branch have come together to facilitate a business-friendly environment for travel businesses in the city. They are working to develop tour programs for inland waterways to serve guests. They are focusing on diversifying products and services on board to create a competitive edge.
Da Nang is committed to supplementing the planning of several waterways from shore to islands and waterways to provinces, in addition to the comprehensive exploitation of inland waterways and waterways from shore to islands, which have already been approved for planning. The city also plans to dredge channels from Da Nang to localities, focusing on connecting waterways from the Han River to Hoi An (Quang Nam province).
According to danang.gov.vn