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International tourists near 5 million for first half

Released at: 12:04, 28/06/2016

International tourists near 5 million for first half

Photo: Duc Anh

International and domestic numbers up, as is tourism revenue.

by Minh Tuyet

International tourist numbers stood at over 4.7 million in the first half of the year, a 21.3 per cent year-on-year, figures from the General Statistics Office (GSO) show.

Domestic tourists numbered 32.4 million. Total revenue was VND200.339 trillion ($8.9 billion), 22.1 per cent higher than in the same period of 2015.

International tourist arrivals in June were 700,446, down 7.5 per cent down against May but up 29.8 per cent year-on-year.

According to the Vietnam National Administrative of Tourism, the figures for the first half auger well for Vietnam reaching its target of welcoming 8.5 million international tourists and catering to 60 million domestic tourists this year. The target of VND370 trillion ($16.56 million) in revenue is also well within reach.

May to August is the peak tourism period. Phu Quoc Island is considered the most attractive destination this year thanks to it hosting the National Tourism Year 2016 with a theme of discovering the south.

It also has good promotions, improved services, and is value for money. Occupancy is near complete in the summer.

On the April 30 and May 1 holiday Phu Quoc welcomed over 43,000 visitors, up 51 per cent year-on-year. In the first five months tourists to the island totaled almost 543,000, up 51.83 per cent and equal to 43.66 per cent of the target.

In April the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed extending the visa-free period for citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy from one year to five years. The period for visitors from other western European countries may be extended from 15 to 30 days. The ministry will also continue to propose visa-free periods for other countries that are key tourism markets as well as the issuing of visas at national border gates and electronically.

Resolution No. 46 /NQ-CP on visa exemptions for citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy expires on June 30 but no announcement has been made as yet regarding an extension.

GSO figures show that tourist numbers from these five countries increased in the third and fourth quarters of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, by 4.24 per cent, 16.49 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, year-on-year.

In the 2010-2014 period, total tourist numbers from the five countries grew some 5.35 per cent each year. After the introduction of visa-free travel they increased 13.91 per cent from July 2015 to March 2016.

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