25.11.2020, 22:39

American singer pitches in as city eyes tourism revival

American singer pitches in as city eyes tourism revival

Launched by the city Tourism Department to revive an industry severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign saw him visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and Saigon Opera House in District 1 and the Hung Kings’ Temple in District 9.

The singer said after living for more than 10 years in Vietnam, he loves the ao dai and has more than 100 sets made by famous designers, and wears it to all formal events. The long dress ao dai has for long been an icon of Vietnamese culture.

Kyo York said he considers Ho Chi Minh City his second home. “Every time I go home to America, I miss the shops, sidewalks, iced coffee, and crowded traffic scene.”

A place he frequents is the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden in District 1 because he loves animals, he said.

Normally a tourist magnet, the city received only 1.3 million foreign visitors in the first 10 months, down 81 percent year-on-year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the government to close borders and cancel international flights since March.

Vietnam could lose $23 billion in tourism revenues this year, or about 75 percent of last year’s revenues, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said early this month.

With the city going over two months without local transmission of the novel coronavirus, officials are seeking to organize festivals and cultural events to revive the tourism industry.

Kyo York in an ao dai. Photo by Zee Nguyen.

Kyo York, 35, came to Vietnam in 2009 to teach English in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang before moving to HCMC. He taught himself Vietnamese and is passionate about Vietnamese music.