Asia holds lion's share of Vietnam's foreign arrivals

By Nguyen Quy   July 31, 2019 | 07:11 pm PT
Asia holds lion's share of Vietnam's foreign arrivals
Foreign tourists take a boat tour in Ngo Dong river, the northern province of Ninh Binh. Photo by Shutterstock/Trananhuy.
Vietnam’s tourism growth is driven mainly by Asian tourists who account for nearly 80 percent of total foreign arrivals in January-July. 

7.6 million Asians visited Vietnam in the first seven months of the year, up 8.8 percent year-on-year, accounting for 77.6 percent of total foreign arrivals.

The period saw the highest rise in Thai visitors at 227,400 arrivals, a 48.2 percent increase, followed by Taiwan (27.6 percent), South Korea (22.1 percent), Indonesia (21.2 percent), the Philippines (19.6 percent), Malaysia (13.9 percent and Japan (12.9 percent).

Vietnam welcomed 9.8 million foreigners in January-July, up 7.9 percent against the same period of last year, putting the country on track to meet its annual target of receiving 18 million foreigners this year, according to the General Statistics Office. Chinese and South Korean tourists accounted for over two-thirds of the total.

Despite a 2.8 percent decrease, mainland China remained the country’s biggest feeder market with 2.89 arrivals, followed by South Korea with 2.4 million.

The launch of several domestic and international flight routes to connect Vietnam's popular tourist destinations like Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Nha Trang with other Asian destinations, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea have contributed to push this growth, market observers said.

For instance, Jeju Air, a South Korean low-cost airline, last December began operating flights everyday between Daegu City and Da Nang. Korean Air, the oldest and largest air carrier in Asia, launched a direct air route between Busan and Da Nang last year. Malaysian budget airline AirAsia last April launched direct flights from Thailand's Chiang Mai to Da Nang.

Vietnam's private budget carrier Vietjet Air recently announced the launch of two new direct routes connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang with Tokyo this year. While the HCMC-Tokyo daily flight began operations on July 12, the Da Nang-Tokyo route is scheduled to take off on October 26.

Based on the average annual growth rate of foreign arrivals, Vietnam is forecast to become a leading travel destination in the next five years, according to the latest Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2019 - 2023 report released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

A video captures the bustling Bui Vien Street in HCMC, one of Vietnam's most popular hangouts for foreign tourists.

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