Update: 16:05 | 31/10/2019
Italian travel site Big7Travel has placed Vietnam’s southern metropolis Saigon 46th in a new ranking of 50 friendliest cities in the world.
The site, which targets mobile-using millennials, asked more than 1.5 million people to vote on the places where they felt most welcome during their travels. Millenials are generally considered to be born between 1984 and 1996, aged thus 23 up to 35 years old.
A foreigner teaches English to Vietnamese students of an English center at an open park in HCMC.
Ho Chi Minh City, also known by its erstwhile name of Saigon, is the only Vietnamese city and one of five Southeast Asian cities to be mentioned in the ranking. The site describes HCMC as "busy but a city full of welcoming people.
"Its developing tourism industry means that locals are eager to practice their English and will chat away to visitors," Big7Travel said.
Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur (2nd), Thailand’s Chiang Mai (11th), Cambodia’s Siem Reap (20th) and Singapore (24th) were Southeast Asian peers ranked ahead of Saigon.
Foreign tourists drink on Bui Vien backpacker street, one of the busiest areas in HCMC.
Vancouver in Canada took the top spot with site remarking that "the city has an amazing multicultural community who band together to make visitors feel welcome and safe at all times." The rest of the top five were Belgium’s Bruges, Taiwan’s Taipei and Germany’s Hamburg.
Last September, HCMC jumped nine places from 2017 to rank 47th out of 60 cities around the world in the 2019 edition of the Safe Cities Index released by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
HCMC received more than six million foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year, up 14.3 percent from a year ago. The city hopes to get 8.5 million visitors this year, 14 percent more than last year.
Hanoi and HCMC were named among the top 20 travel destinations in the Asia-Pacific region in the annual Asia Pacific Destinations Index drawn up by U.S. payment company Mastercard.