Foreign tourists to Vietnam surge in August despite typhoons

By Toan Dao   August 23, 2016 | 02:30 pm PT
Foreign tourists to Vietnam surge in August despite typhoons
A tourist walks past a clothing shop in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Relaxed visa policy has done the trick.

Vietnam is likely to record a third consecutive monthly rise in the number of foreign visitors this August thanks to favorable visa policy even though it's the monsoon season, the government portal reported Tuesday, quoting data from the General Statistics Office.

In the month which saw the country suffer from two typhoons, Vietnam still welcomed about 899,738 foreign visitors, rising 6.3 percent from July and jumping 34.4 percent year on year.

Several flights and thousands of tours to and from the affected areas were cancelled after Dianmu, the third typhoon of this year, hit northern Vietnam on August 19. In early August, the second typhoon, Nida, caused landslides and flash floods across northern Vietnam, stranding tourists in the popular mountainous town  of Sapa.

The total number of foreign visitors to Vietnam during the January-August period surged 25.4 percent on-year to 6.45 million with arrivals by air accounting for the majority, up 28.5 percent to 5.44 million.

More relaxed visa policy for Chinese speaking countries and territories has triggered a jump of arrivals from Hong Kong and China, the statement said, adding that there has also been a rise in the number of visitors from South Korea and Thailand.

The extension of visa exemptions for tourists from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy from July this year until June 2017 has also helped boost arrivals from these countries in August.

With the increase recorded in the first eight months, Vietnam is all set to meet the target of attracting 8.5 million foreign visitors this year, the statement said.

In 2015, Vietnam received 7.94 million foreign tourists, slightly up 0.9 percent from 2014.

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