HO CHI MINH CITY: A CITY OF UNIQUE PLACES
“The story below is written by Olivier Dung Do Ngoc, CEO of EZLand, in response to Tuoi Tre newspaper's 'Ho Chi Minh City Goes Global' contest. The article highlights his own perspective as a foreign expert on development potentials of this most dynamic Vietnamese city, as well as EZLand’s goals in the Vietnam market.”
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and its close to 13 million people, 8 million motorbikes, world-famous nerve wrecking street crossing at rush hour, fast-paced lifestyle and noise and smells can be overwhelming similarly to other large cities in South-East Asia but it is also what makes the city unique and magical. It is that magic that needs to be conveyed to first time visitors, tourists or business people but also across branding and marketing for the city. For that many things need to come together, government agencies, the private sector, key players in tourism and hospitality but also the city as a whole. Visitors will be mesmerized by the beauty of the Saigon River and traditional boats and barges passing by, just to then be put off by the plastic and the pollution floating on the river. Saigon River is truly unique yet not enough places and activities are taking advantage of this to create unique experiences for visitors centered on its natural beauty but also the connectivity it can offer within HCMC and around.
HCMC is a multi-cultural city with a rich history combining modern and traditional Vietnamese architecture with old French buildings with great parks, a fast modernizing infrastructure and beautiful tree-lined avenues. It is today one of the most dynamic business cities in Asia and home to a vibrant entrepreneurship and work spirit fostering constant novelty and innovation throughout the city. Visitors can also be exposed to many cultures and religions, from Cholon to Buddhist and Indian temples, Caodaism and its French designed Notre-Dame cathedral, all living in what seems to be a constantly moving flow, a city that never sleeps. Add to that great local markets with thousands of scents, one of the most diverse and delicious street food and restaurant culture in Asia, a fast developing and very creative local art scene and most importantly the people of HCMC who whether either born here, or from other parts of the country, expatriates or Viet Kieus like myself and who all help form an amazing mosaic of cultures and who are the heart and the pulse of the city. It is the people of HCMC who make the city so unique, in good times but also in times of crisis as the current pandemic has shown and it is also that warmth and kindness that can be extended to visitors.
Again and just as a personal perspective, HCMC as a city has so much to offer to the world as a place to visit again and again but we need to position the city distinctively to the outside world in what makes it unique and exciting and then make sure that the whole eco-system delivers on that promise. I believe the “Ho Chi Minh City Goes Global” contest is exciting and very timely and would encourage everyone to participate with their input and ideas.
Olivier Dung Do Ngoc
CEO of EZLand