Vietnam set to welcome 18 million foreign visitors this year

By Nguyen Quy   November 29, 2019 | 07:34 pm GMT+7
Vietnam set to welcome 18 million foreign visitors this year
Tourists lie on the sands at Sao Beach, one of the top destinations on Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

As the year comes to a close, Vietnam’s tourism industry is well placed to meet its annual target of receiving 18 million visitors.

The number of foreigners visiting Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year is estimated at 16.3 million, a record high, up 15.3 percent from a year ago, according to the General Statistics Office.

Most visitors arrived by air, accounting for over 80 percent of the total, up 14 percent year-on-year.

The tourism growth is mainly driven by Asian tourists who account for nearly 80 percent of total foreign arrivals. About 13 million Asians visited Vietnam in the January-November period, up 18 percent from a year ago.

China remained the biggest source of visitors with more than five million traveling to Vietnam so far this year, up 15 percent year-on-year, accounting for more than 30 percent of all foreign arrivals.

South Koreans came in second with nearly four million arrivals, surging 22.3 percent and accounting for nearly one fourth of the total. China and South Korea were Vietnam's top feeder markets last year with 4.9 million and 3.4 million visitors respectively.

In terms of growth in the number of visitors, Thailand took the lead at 47.1 percent, followed by Taiwan (30.2 percent).

Since December is part of the peak travel season, the tourism industry expects Vietnam to meet its annual target.

Vietnam’s tourism revenue in the 11 months is estimated at VND649 trillion ($27.96 billion), up 16.3 percent year-on-year.

The number of foreign visitors to the country has risen continuously over the past three years, soaring from 10 million in 2016 to 15.6 million in 2018, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reported.

Tourism last year contributed 8.39 percent to Vietnam’s GDP. The government has made clear its plan to make the industry an economic spearhead.

Vietnam has launched an online visa system for travelers on short holidays or casual business trips. It has also added 35 more countries, including emerging tourism markets in Europe, to the list of those whose nationals can visit the country with e-visas, raising the list of beneficiaries to 80. For the full list of eligible nationalities, click here.

The country has also improved its tourism competitiveness ranking to reach 63rd position among 140 countries and territories in the biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum 2019, jumping four places from 67th in 2017.

Earlier this year, in its Asia Pacific Visitor Forecasts 2019-2023 report the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) said it predicted Vietnam would lead Asia-Pacific destinations in terms of average annual growth over the next five years.

Strict visa policy remains a major problem for Vietnam’s tourism. The country currently offers visa exemption to just 24 countries, compared to 61 by Thailand, 158 by Singapore, 155 by Malaysia and 169 by Indonesia.

A recent survey done by the Vietnam’s Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) said getting a travel visa to Vietnam was tougher than other Southeast Asian countries.

 
 
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