Hoi An enjoys tourism revival with return of foreign visitors

The UNESCO heritage site of Hoi An has been witnessing an inbound tourism revival with groups of foreign tourists visiting the ancient town and enjoying its various attractions.

After Vietnam reopened international tourism mid-March with relaxed travel restrictions, Hoi An has welcomed around 8,000 foreign tourists from the U.S., Europe and South Korea.

Foreign tourists join a cooking class in Hoi An, 2022. Photo courtesy of Sabirama Hoi An Tourism Company

American vlogger Rocio Ocampo visited Hoi An last week with her family, went fishing, herded buffaloes, rowed bamboo coracles in the Bay Mau nipa palm forest and cycled around the Tra Que vegetable village.

"We had the wonderful and energetic experience of cycling through peaceful rice fields, riding buffalos on a shady dirt road and seeing Gangnam Style performances on a basket boat by locals," she said.

Another American tourist, Julia M, visited the town with her husband in mid-April and joined the Sabirama Cooking Class that costs VND1.04 million ($45.34) per person.

"This tour was absolutely wonderful," she said.

They were taken to a local market to purchase local specialties and then hop on a boat back to the Bay Mau nipa palm forest. Then they visited a local restaurant where they could soak their feet in hot water mixed with lemongrass and guava leaves and get a massage. Finally, they joined a cooking class, arranged flowers and enjoyed a fun party with the group.

Truong Van Quy, director of Sabirama Hoi An Tourism Company, which organizes cooking tours, said after the government reopened inbound tourism, the company has been welcoming groups of foreign tourists from the U.S., Australia and South Korea after a gap of nearly two years.

"They come to Hoi An in groups of 20-30 people and are keen on experiencing countryside activities and learning about Vietnamese culture and cuisine," Quy said

"This is a good sign for Hoi An's tourism after the pandemic slump," he added.

Tran Van Khoa, director of the Jack Tran Tours Hoi An travel company, which organizes tours that allow visitors to herd buffaloes and work in rice fields, was also happy at receiving a few dozen small groups from the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

"After nearly two years, I have finally seen some light at the end of the tunnel and I hope more foreign tourists will return to visit Hoi An in the coming time," he said.

During the Reunification and Labor Day break last weekend, Hoi An welcomed 200,000 visitors and overall room occupancy reached 70-75 percent, with most three-to-five-star hotels fully booked.


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