Number of Chinese and Russian visitors impacted significantly by political and economic issues.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of international visitors to Vietnam in March was estimated at about 617,895, a decrease by 10.4 per cent over the previous month and 12.9 per cent less than in March 2014. In the first quarter of 2015 Vietnam welcomed more than 2 million international visitors, down 13.7 per cent compared to the first two months last year.
Arrivals from China saw the largest decline, about 50 per cent while the number of Russian tourists has been impacted dramatically by the country’s economic woes, falling by 27.1 per cent. Additionally, the number of Australian visitors has decreased by 10.1 per cent.
However, positive signs have begun to show for other markets such as Japan and the US. Both countries have recorded a slight visitor increase with 5.1 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively. The South Korean market continued to grow dramatically, with 313,446 arrivals during January for a growth of 41.5 per cent. With this figure, South Korea become the second largest market of the tourism industry, accounting for 15.8 per cent of total international visitors to Vietnam, following China with 17.6 per cent.
Travel enterprises experienced a difficult opening quarter to the year. Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet, General Manager of HG Travel, said her company suffered a decline in visitors from major markets such as China and Russia. The economic crisis and falling exchange rates in Russia, where people tightened their spending and the government announced policies to encourage domestic travel, had a strong effect on arrival numbers. Additionally, political issues in China have also significantly impacted the number of visitors to this market. “Along with service diversification and improvements, our company has started to seek out and analyze new markets to fight the decline,” Ms. Tuyet said.
However, Mr. Nguyen Cong Hoan, Deputy Director of Hanoi Redtours showed expressed positivity about the diversification of international visitors. “Numbers from Australia, the US and Europe have been maintained while there will be strong growth in other markets such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia,” he said.