Foreign tourist numbers increased 5.8 per cent in January against December and 12.3 per cent year-on-year.
The number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam in January stood at 805,072, a 5.8 per cent increase against December and 12.3 per cent higher year-on-year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT). This was the seventh consecutive month tourist numbers increased after falling for 13 months in succession.
Markets with visa exemptions, such as Italy, Sweden, Denmark and the UK, recorded increases of 71.4 per cent, 67.1 per cent, 57.2 per cent, and 23 per cent, respectively, in January, indicating the government efforts at promoting tourism development are finding some success.
Most domestic travel agencies, however, said the policy is yet to have any great effect. “The visa exemptions are only for 15 days, while most international tourists tend to stay in Vietnam for 20-30 days,” the Deputy Director of HG Travel, Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet, said. “It’s a long-haul destination for European tourists and they plan their trip a year in advance, so the policy would not have affected their decision.”
VNAT also explained that a number of tourists from these markets are living, working, or traveling in the region and decided to come to Vietnam when news of the exemptions was announced.
In addition, the increase in foreign tourist numbers has mostly been from European markets, where they have year-end holidays in warmer places.
Regarding Asian markets, South Korea saw the highest increase, of 30.1 per cent, followed by Hong Kong and Indonesia with 24.8 and 15.3 per cent, respectively. The number from Cambodia, Singapore, and China saw notable declines, however, of 35.9 per cent, 30.4 per cent, and 13.8 per cent, respectively.
With the current level of growth Vietnam’s tourism industry will achieve its target of becoming a key economic sector by 2020 if the global political and economic situation remains stable, according to a report released by Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh on the tourism development strategy to 2020 and vision to 2030.
Vietnam hopes to welcome 8.5 million foreign visitors and 60 million domestic travelers this year, earning a total of VND370 trillion ($16.8 billion) in revenue, a conference in Hanoi on January 15 was told.