Vietnam witnesses massive jump in foreign visitors

By Bui Hong Nhung   July 28, 2016 | 11:52 pm PT
Chinese tourists are flooding into the country, but not all of them are welcome.

Vietnam's foreign arrivals in July have hit around 846,300, an increase of 21 percent from June and a 41 percent jump from the same period last year.

5.5 million visitors arrived in the country in the first seven months of the year, according to the General Statistics Office, earning the tourism sector nearly VND235 trillion ($10.5 billion), a 23 percent jump on-year.

Chinese tourists accounted for one third of foreign arrivals in July, up 36.6 percent from June and nearly double the same period last year.

Over the first seven months of this year, Chinese visitors reached 1.5 million people, jumping 54 percent on-year. They also made up a third of Asian visitors to Vietnam, which also surged by 29.5 percent to some four million.

Chinese tourists spent around $215 billion on overseas vacations last year despite difficulties in China’s economy.

However, the upsurge in Chinese visitors has caused Vietnam problems, with some trying to work illegally, some spreading lies about the country’s history and others refusing to use the Vietnamese dong.

Ranking second after China, South Korean tourists accounted for 10.8 percent of the total, equivalent to 858,000 people. Japan ranked third with 413,000, up 12.6 percent on-year.

The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, whose citizens all enjoy 15-day visa exemptions, also saw an on-year increase of more than 10 percent, with the most significant growth coming from Italy with a 30.4 percent jump.

Cambodia was the only country to record a fall in visitor numbers to Vietnam, dropping 17.6 percent to 106,000.

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