Vietnam cashes in on spending boom by Chinese tourists

By Vy An, Nguyen Quy   October 17, 2018 | 06:38 pm PT
Vietnam cashes in on spending boom by Chinese tourists
Chinese tourists arrive in the popular resort town of Nha Trang City in the central province of Khanh Hoa. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Ngoc
Chinese visitors splurged $130 a day on average in Vietnam last year, up from $119 in 2014.

China has maintained its place as the biggest feeder market of Vietnam’s tourism in recent years, accounting for one third of all international visitors. More than four million Chinese visitors were welcomed last year, up 48.6 percent from the previous year.

The surge in Chinese tourists has been a big boost for the local tourism sector because the visitors are also spending more in the country. 

Survey results released Tuesday by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, reveal the average daily spending by the Chinese increased from $118.6 in 2014 to $130 last year.

Compared to other regional countries, the daily spending was below that of Chinese visitors in Thailand ($180), Indonesia ($183) and Singapore ($446).  

Tourism authorities are working hard to sustain the strong growth in the number of Chinese tourists.

Many direct flights connecting Vietnamese major cities with China have been launched over the past years to cater to growing travel demand.

Chinese visitors have been encouraged by a new policy that allows groups of travelers to visit the border province of Quang Ninh in northern Vietnam, home to the popular Ha Long Bay, for up to three days without a visa.

The Vietnamese government has allowed Chinese nationals to apply for a 30-day single-entry electronic visas for holidays and business trips.

Last year, figures from CLSA, a Hong Kong brokerage and investment firm formally known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia, showed Vietnam has overtaken France to enter the top 10 popular destinations among Chinese tourists.

The rising popularity shows no sign of slowing down. In the first nine months of this year, the number of Chinese visitors reached 3.8 million, up 29.7 per cent year-on-year.

A Bloomberg report in 2016 said Chinese tourists could have a big impact on Vietnam’s economy. It said a 30 percent increase in spending by Chinese tourists would boost Vietnam’s economic growth by nearly 1 percentage point. For Thailand, that would be around 1.6 points.

It quoted Edward Lee, an economist with Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, as saying: “Chinese tourism is pretty big for ASEAN now, and all the countries rely on Chinese visitors to keep coming and keep spending.”

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