130,000 overseas Vietnamese to return home for Tet holiday

By VnExpress   December 10, 2016 | 12:18 am PT
130,000 overseas Vietnamese to return home for Tet holiday
People wait for relatives and friends at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City is working hard to make sure passengers can move quickly during this holiday season.

The Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese expects about 130,000 overseas Vietnamese to fly home for the upcoming Lunar New Year, or Tet, the country's most important holiday.

Nguyen Hong Hue, chairman of the association, said the estimate is based on visa application data.

The number of returning Vietnamese overseas is forecast to sharply increase from mid-December to mid-February, with an estimated 3,000-4,000 arrivals daily.

Tet begins on the first day of the first lunar month, which falls on January 28 next year, but festive celebrations can stretch over days both before and after that. The official break for the upcoming Tet is one week.

Tan Son Nhat, the country’s largest international airport, will be under more pressure during this holiday season.

The airport, designed for both domestic and international flights, has become increasingly strained. It is expected to handle up to 31 million passengers by the end of this year, far beyond its maximum capacity of 25 million, said Lai Xuan Thanh, director general of the Civil Aviation Administration.

Customs officials at the airport said they stand ready to make sure that customs check only takes about 25-27 seconds.

There are around five million Vietnamese overseas, according to the World Bank.

By 2014, 1.3 million Vietnamese immigrants resided in the U. S. It was followed by Australia with 227,000 Vietnamese immigrants, Canada with 183,000, and France with 126,000, according to mid-2015 estimates by the United Nations Population Division.

Remittances from Vietnamese overseas remain a key source of funds for the country's economy, equivalent to about 8-10 percent of gross domestic product.

Vietnamese-Americans alone sent back about $7 billion last year. The number is expected to reach $8 billion this year.

Vietnam recorded roughly $13 billion in overseas remittances last year, slightly up from $12 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank.

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