Tourism a driving force behind Vietnam’s economic growth: report

By VnExpress   December 6, 2016 | 02:51 pm GMT+7
Tourism a driving force behind Vietnam’s economic growth: report
Vietnam is highly likely to expect 10 million foreign visitors by the end of this year. Photo credit to the National Tourism Administration.

The country is on track to welcome more than 10 million visitors this year.

A new report released last Sunday by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said that tourism is driving economic growth in Vietnam, the country's government portal reported yesterday.

The country’s economic growth prospects are strongly driven by its travel and tourism sector, the EIU said.

Foreign arrivals reached more than 9 million from January – November this year, a staggering 25 percent increase from a year ago, the EIU noted, citing official data from the National Tourism Administration.

The country is on track to welcome more than 10 million visitors by the end of this year, the administration forecast, which would exceed the target by 17.6 percent and last year’s arrivals by 26 percent.

The EIU said that tourism continues to make a significant contribution to Vietnam’s economy. The tourism sector has not only created job growth in the wider economy, but also supported the development of other sectors such as retail.

The study attributed the tourism industry's growth prospects partly to Vietnam’s efforts to relax its visa policy to pave the way for a bigger inflow of international tourists.

It has already offered visa exemptions for tourists from South Korea, Japan and those from Southeast Asian countries, as well as extended its visa-free policy through to June next year for travelers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

With the aim of giving the tourism industry an even bigger push, the Vietnamese government has approved much-touted online visas for travelers on short holidays or casual business visits. The new visa rule, which is expected to come into effect from February next year, but it will be limited to those arriving from Vietnam’s top tourist markets.

Vietnam’s top 10 tourist markets include China, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, tourism revenue directly contributed 6.6 percent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product last year. If you take into account that tourism drives other areas like spa and wellness services, dining and retail, the sector contributed around 13.9 percent of GDP.

EIU experts suggested the Vietnamese government should improve the quality of transport infrastructure, which will in turn further boost growth in the tourism sector.

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