Foreign visitors to Vietnam surge 30 pct in first two months of 2018

By Ngan Anh   March 1, 2018 | 02:46 am PT
Foreign visitors to Vietnam surge 30 pct in first two months of 2018
Tourists in Hoi An. Photo by VnExpress
The country has pinned its hopes on the booming tourism industry driving its economic growth.

Vietnam welcomed more than 2.86 million foreign visitors in the first two months of this year, surging 29.7 percent over the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

Of the arrivals, 2.12 million came from Asian countries, up 35.8 percent from last year.

Chinese visitors topped the pile at 901,000 million in January and February, an on-year increase of 38.5 percent.

South Korea remained in second place with 619,700 arrivals, up 70 percent. Most visitors chose to fly to Vietnam, accounting for over 80 percent of arrivals during the first two months.

Vietnam received 12.9 million foreign tourists in 2017, a rise of 29.1 percent against 2016.

A report published in June by the United Nations World Tourism Organization ranked Vietnam’s tourism growth at seventh globally, and the country was the only destination in Southeast Asia to make the top 10.

The results appear to bode well for Vietnam’s growth, especially now that the government is backing tourism to drive its economy.

The country needs to stop relying on crude oil and focus on tourism to ensure its economic growth, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said at a meeting of the legislative National Assembly in October.

The deputy PM said that tourism has a direct impact on the service sector, so more tourists means higher growth.

“It is better to welcome 1 million tourists than trying to find 1 million tons of crude oil because tourism is more eco-friendly and safe for the economy,” he said.

The country aims to receive 15-17 million foreign arrivals this year. However, that number is still moderate compared to Thailand, where the government is targeting 37 million visitors in 2018, according to Bloomberg.

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