The two ships, each with a seating capacity of 48 passengers, will be jointly built by local tour operator Viet Excursions and the management board of Can Gio Biosphere Reserve. Besides, some 30 kayaks along with other services will be launched to develop local river tourism.

Phan Xuan Anh, chair of Viet Excursions, told the Daily it takes only 15 minutes to go to Can Gio in HCM City from Phu My Port by boat but the two locations haven't been connected so far.

When in place, the two cruise ships will carry international visitors from Phu My Port to Can Gio, where they can move around in the world biosphere reserve within two hours by ship or kayak.

Viet Excursions welcomes hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors at Phu My Port annually but it can only take them to HCM City, My Tho or Vung Tau City by car.

The new service is set to open by the middle of next month and hundreds of customers among 1,000 from Germany arriving at Phu My Port at the end of next month will have an opportunity to enjoy this service.

"The new route will enrich the local tour programmes and contribute to developing river tourism in Can Gio and HCM City," stressed Anh of Viet Excursions.

Apart from the Phu My-Can Gio route, the firm also plans to provide travellers with tours from HCM City's District 1 to Can Gio overland and on the river.

Promoting river tourism is one of the city's crucial plans and Can Gio is targeted as a key destination. Early this year, the city inaugurated a short-distance tour from Bach Dang to District 2's Ham Long artisan village and surveyed other routes for Bach Dang-Cu Chi-Binh Duong and Bach Dang-District 9-Can Gio.

The Saigon Times Daily - October 12, 2011