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International visitors on the up

Released at: 17:47, 01/08/2017

International visitors on the up

Photo: Internet Archives

Visitors in July up 9.2% against June and 21% year-on-year, while seven-month figure up 28.8%.

by Quynh Nguyen

International visitors increased sharply in July, with 1.036 million visitors arriving on Vietnam’s shores, up 9.2 per cent compared to June and 21 per cent year-on-year.

Asian visitors saw the highest growth in the month, of 24.3 per cent.

The number of international visitors in the first seven months of this year therefore reached 7.243 million, up 28.8 per cent year-on-year. Most arrived by air and sea. Those from Asia stood at 5.36 million, up 33.4 per cent year-on-year.

Visitors from China reached 2.2 million, up 51 per cent year-on-year. Chinese tourists have led in terms of source countries for a number of years, accounting for 20-25 per cent of the total. Quang Ninh, Da Nang, and Nha Trang are their favorite destinations.   

Along with strong investment from South Korea, the number of tourists from the country rose 46.8 per cent year-on-year to 1.26 million in the first seven months. Those from Europe were estimated at 1.1 million, up 22.2 per cent, while visitors from the Americas reached 505,000, up 10.6 per cent year, of which those from the US totaled 377,000, an increase of 9.5 per cent.

Visitors from Australia reached 245,800, up 10.8 per cent, while those from Africa increased 34 per cent to 14,900.

Although Vietnam’s tourism sector is witnessing a rise the number of international visitors, it remains limited compared to country’s potential.

The key reason for this is its visa policy. Mr. Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of Viettravel, told the second Vietnam Private Sector Forum on July 31 that it is important for the government to expand its visa-free program and tourism promotions. If tourism is defined as a nascent economic sector, the government must invest appropriately in international research and development strategies, especially relating to its visa policy.

Mr. Tran Trong Kien, Chairman of the Thien Minh Group, believes the visa policy, if improved, would create a breakthrough for the tourism sector. “During a trip to Thailand, I met a group of 16 young New Zealanders who wanted to go to Vietnam but had to return to Thailand because they thought Vietnam was visa-free. So they had a poor first impression of the country,” he said.  

Visa exemptions demonstrate Vietnam’s integration into the world, according to Mr. Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association. “Vietnam is among the most backwards tourism countries in the world because of visa issues,” he said. “E-visas are only a tool for faster, easier travel, and are not a visa exemption.”

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