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Saigon Announces Plan for Waterway Development

Well, Saigon is really trying to cover all the bases for its 2020 rebirth. Another massive project has been proposed to redevelop Saigon’s 1,000km of rivers and canals at a cost of more than $500 million. The city hopes that this will boost tourism, and that its waterways will become Saigon’s main attraction.

This project is another pillar in Saigon’s grand ‘2020 vision’ (I should really coin that…) which includes the completion of its first metro line, the Thu Thiem urban area and a total overhaul of the city center.

Under the plan, by 2015, the city will renovate and build 50 piers and wharfs that connect to tourist attractions a far away as Cu Chi. Saigontourist is undertaking feasibility studies to see if connections can be made to old pagodas in the city as well as Mekong Delta provinces.

The city will also host cultural, sports and tourism events along the waterways and develop water sports, resorts and health centers in Can Gio, Cu Chi and District 9.

With a price tag of $522 million, this is no small investment. But rivers and canals are truly one of the Saigon’s most valuable resources which, up to this point, have barely been tapped. The plan, which calls for green districts and eco-tourism options, hopes to increase tourism by 20% and revenues by 30% annually.

The city has already invested more than $400 million over the past 10 years in the recently completed upgrade of the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal. This included massive dredging operations, planting trees and flowers and resurfacing Hoang Sa Street.

We know the idea of tourist boats traversing local canals is not ideal to most. But, if the plan can bring lasting beautification and more economic benefits and jobs to locals, it seems a worthwhile endeavor.

[Photo via Tran An Chi]

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