Amid Chinese tourism boom, Vietnam's prime beach province diversifies

By VnExpress   December 30, 2016 | 03:58 am PT
Amid Chinese tourism boom, Vietnam's prime beach province diversifies
Khanh Hoa Province's Cam Ranh Airport overloaded with Chinese tourists. Photo by VnExpress
Seeing record numbers of Chinese visitors, officials look to create interest elsewhere.

The lure of beaches, luxury resorts and golf courses has brought an increasing number of foreign tourists to the south-central province of Khanh Hoa in 2016.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has logged an 18-percent annual increase in Khanh Hoa for the past five years.

Most visitors head to the beach town of Nha Trang, where international tourist arrivals are expected to hit 1.1 million this year, slightly down from last year’s 1.3 million, according to local tourism authorities.

Despite the mild downturn, Khanh Hoa's Chinese visitors leapt from 33,000 in 2014 to 600,000 this year -- a figure that accounted for half of the province's total international arrivals.

“We have no reasons to believe that a huge surge in Chinese tourists has driven away tourists from some traditional source markets," Tran Viet Trung, head of the provincial tourism authority told the Saigon Times. "Nevertheless it is time to revive our long-standing tourist markets and tap into new ones.” 

Trung said local tourism should not heavily rely on the Chinese, who often travel in large groups, and pointed out that his agency has already begun reaching out to operators in Germany, South Korea and Japan.

Vietnam Airlines will begin offering direct flights from Germany in April, said Nguyen Van Thanh, vice chairman of the Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa Tourism Association.

“We will sit down with local travel operators to create tours that appeal to Japanese visitors,” said Thanh.

Foreign visitors to Vietnam hit 10 million this year, a 26 percent increase over 2015's numbers.

China ranked first in Vietnam’s top 10 tourist source markets and official statistics showed that Chinese tourism soared 53 percent from a year ago to 2.7 million.

Vietnam’s top tourist destinations for the Chinese are usually Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, Phu Quoc Island and lately Da Lat in the Central Highlands.

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