Government eyes raising tourist arrival target to 13 million

By Hoang Phong   October 2, 2023 | 07:09 pm PT
Government eyes raising tourist arrival target to 13 million
Foreign tourists join a parade during the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hoi An in central Vietnam, September 28, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plans to increase the foreign tourist arrival target to 13 million since the original target of eight million has been achieved.

Bu late September Vietnam had received 8.9 million visitors.

The ministry would seek to increase the target by 56% since at least 1.2 million visitors are expected to arrive each month for the remainder of the year, deputy minister Doan Van Viet said at a tourism conference late last week.

The peak season tourism season typically lasts from September to April as western tourists flock for winter.

Vietnam's initial target of eight million was the lowest among the top five Southeast Asian tourism countries, according to travel market intelligence firm Outbox Consulting.

The changes to visa policies have fostered a recovery, Viet said.

Many tourism insiders are also optimistic that the new target is achievable.

Hoang Nhan Chinh, director of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board secretariat, said the government has provided strong support by easing visa policies.

Vietnam would get 12-13 million foreign visitors, or even more, and if nothing changes there would be a full recovery to pre-Covid levels next year, he added.

From Aug. 15 Vietnam has been offering e-visas to citizens of all countries and for 90 days and multiple entries.

It has also extended the duration of stay in Vietnam from 15 to 45 days for citizens of 13 countries unilaterally exempted from visas.

But Ha Van Sieu, deputy director general of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said tourism activities have not fully recovered even at major tourist destinations due to the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war and limited travel by Chinese tourists amid an economic slowdown in their country.

Chinese and Russian tourists used to be Vietnam's largest tourism markets before the pandemic.

The number of Chinese tourists in January-September was 1.1 million, only equivalent to 28% of pre-pandemic levels, and Russia is no longer among the 10 biggest tourist markets.

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