The Red River in Hanoi has failed to attract tourists over the past 20 years.
Launched in 1996 by the Thang Long General Trading and Tourism Company, the Red River tour operates on three boats including Thang Long 18 (serving 150 passengers), Thang Long 333 (60 passengers), and Song Hong 5 (40 passengers).
The one-day boat tour departs at Chuong Duong Do Wharf, and stops at several cultural and historical sites including Dam Temple, Dai Lo Temple in Thuong Tin District, Chu Dong Tu Temple in Hung Yen Province, and Bat Trang Pottery Village in Gia Lam District.
The tour offers visitors a chance to enjoy the natural scenery along the Red River, explore some cultural sites and shop for porcelain and ceramic products.
According to the company, this itinerary has been run for the past 20 years and has failed to attract tourists, especially foreign visitors.
Another itinerary has also been introduced in which besides boat time, visitors can get ride bicycles to explore more historical sites and craft villages in Hanoi. However, this tour has also been closed due to lack of interest.
The company’s deputy director, Nguyen Thai Dung, said that the tour can only operate properly between October and April when the water level of the river is high enough.
“We’re proposing to move to a wharf near Bo De Pagoda when Chuong Duong Wharf cannot operate in dry season,” Dung said. “But we only have few passengers at this time of the year. Our peak season is at year-end when we serve Buddhists who want to visit the surrounding temples and pagodas.”
According to Phan Huy Cuong from the Hanoi Department of Tourism, who co-founded the Red River Tour project, the infrastructure for the tour has not received sufficient investment as they are still waiting for final approval for the Hanoi tourism development plan by 2020.
The tour is being offered by tourist agencies at VND450,000 (USD20) per passenger which is said to be cheap for a weekend day tour.
Director of New World Travel Company, Dang Thanh Tung, said that despite the good price, they have few booking for this tour.
“The main problem is that the best time for this tour is at the end of the year when there are many other good options,” Tung explained. “The lack of news about the tour and the poor quality of the boats are also the causes.”
Meanwhile, head of the market development division at Hanoitourist, Nguyen Hong Nguyen said he believes that the tour has good chance and potential to develop in the near future.
“I think that the Red River Delta is always attractive to visitors,” Nguyen said. The tours can lure more tourists when it receives investment to upgrade the boats, the sites and the river environment.”