A range of factors see local travel companies off to a difficult start in the new year.
The number of international tourists coming to Vietnam fell slightly in January. According to a report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the country welcomed 657,000 visitors during the month, a decline of 9.7 per cent compared to January 2014 but a 6.6 per cent increase against December.
Visitors from major markets such as China, Japan, Russia, Australia, and US were all lower. Arrivals from China saw the largest decline, of 24.7 per cent, while Australian tourists were 14.5 per cent fewer than in January 2014. The number of Russian tourists has been impacted dramatically by the country’s economic woes, falling 28.7 per cent.
Only the South Korean market continued to grow significantly, with 116,450 arrivals during January for growth of 41.5 per cent.
Travel enterprises experienced a difficult opening month of the year. Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet, General Manager of HG Travel, said the company suffered a decline in visitors from major markets such as China, Australia and Russia. The economic crisis and falling exchange rates in Australia and especially Russia, where people tightened their spending and the government announced policies to encourage domestic travel, had a strong effect on arrival numbers. Chinese visitors, Vietnam’s largest market, have also been impacted by political issues. The policy of increasing fees at tourist destinations such as Hoi An as well as visa policies also contributed to falling tourist numbers. “Along with service diversification and improvements, our company has started to seek out and analyze new markets to fight the decline,” Ms. Tuyet said.
Mr. Duong Thanh Hung, General Director of V’Spirit Cruise, said that the decline has prompted travel companies to improve their services to attract new visitors and encourage former customers to return.