Visitor numbers decline 12.6 per cent in first five months, offset somewhat by impressive rise in South Korean tourists.
The number of international visitors to Vietnam in the first five months of the year reached more than 3 million, down 12.6 per cent against the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office. Those arriving by air fell 9.8 per cent while 23.1 per cent fewer arrived by land. The number coming by sea fell the highest, by 34.4 per cent.
Asian visitor numbers were 2.1 million, down 12.8 per cent, of which Cambodian tourists saw the highest decline, by 37.6 per cent, followed by those from Laos, China and Thailand, which fell 30.6 per cent, 30 per cent, and 29.1 per cent, respectively.
The South Korean and Singaporean markets, however, were in much better shape. South Korean tourist numbers rose a significant 35.3 per cent, while those from Singapore reached 480,000, a slight increase of 6.2 per cent.
Passengers arriving from Europe numbered 525,000, down 7.3 per cent compared to the same period last year. In particular, Russian arrivals fell 16.5 per cent while French visitor numbers were down 6 per cent.
Those from the Americas reached 267,500, an increase of 2.4 per cent, of which 215,300 Americans arrived, an increase of 4 per cent.
Arrivals from Australia, meanwhile, were down 9.3 per cent, at 135,600.
To boost the tourism industry and the number of international visitors the government has requested the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) grant extensions to the visa-free period for tourists from countries with whom Vietnam has reciprocal visa exemption arrangements in cases where they wish to stay longer in the country, provided they are sponsored by an international travel company and have a return ticket.
The government has already approved visa waivers for single-entry visits of up to 15 days for Danish, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, South Korean, and Swedish nationals.