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Vietnam's foreign visitors hit all-time high

By VnExpress   February 27, 2017 | 12:00 am GMT+7
Vietnam's foreign visitors hit all-time high
Korean tourists in popular tourist town Hoi An, Vietnam. Photo by Paul Arps/CC BY 2.0/Via Flickr

More Chinese flocked to Vietnam in February as flights to HCMC and central Vietnam grew.

Tourists from around the world continued to flood into Vietnam in February, when the country saw a record 1.2 million foreign arrivals.

The figure represents a 42.2 percent leap from last February and a 20 percent increase from the previous month, Saigon Times Online reported, citing data from the Department of Tourism.

During the first two months of 2017, the country received 2.2 million foreign visitors, up 33 percent from the same period last year.

Many local travel agencies, such as Saigontourist, ICS Travel Group and Lien Bang Travelink, reported excellent outbound tourism figures in the month of February as well.

Some companies saw guest arrivals surge by around 40 percent on-year, while some big hotels in Ho Chi Minh City reported occupancies of over 80 percent during the second month of the year.

Saigontourist reported impressive foreign cruise ship arrivals: to wit, 46,900 foreign tourists and 28,600 crew members during January-February.

Chinese tourists

China remained Vietnam's top market aided by a rising number of flights; Ho Chi Minh City alone sees 10 Chinese flights per day — a figure that's expected to climb.

Tu Quy Thanh, director of Lien Bang Travelink, said Chinese visitors surged 40 percent in February from the same month last year. 

“We are having headaches in finding accommodations for our guests because the city doesn't have enough 3-4 star hotels to meet rising demand,” Thanh said, adding that his company expects its Chinese customer base to grow 60 percent (on-year) in March.

Chinese tourists spend about $100/day on package tours to Ho Chi Minh City, slightly lower than the rate for a visitor from Europe, according to Lien Bang Travelink’s Thanh.

Citizens from 40 countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden, were eligible to apply for 30-day single-entry electronic visas to Vietnam starting on February 1.

Apart from visa exemptions for tourists from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam offers 15-day visa exemptions for visitors from the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Belarus.

Vietnamese tourism authorities expect to receive 11.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up 15 percent from 2016.

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