Tourism ministry urges China to soon resume outbound tours to Vietnam

By Phuong Anh   February 15, 2023 | 11:40 pm PT
Tourism ministry urges China to soon resume outbound tours to Vietnam
Chinese tourists enter boats to get to islands in the central resort town of Nha Trang from Cau Da Port, 2018. Photo by AFP/Linh Pham
Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has called on its counterpart in China to soon allow the resumption of group tours to Vietnam to boost the recovery of tourism in both countries.

The ministry urged China to add Vietnam to its list of countries that are able to receive group tours from China under a pilot program that began from Feb. 6, said Nguyen Phuong Hoa, head of the Department of International Cooperation under the ministry.

The move came after China allowed domestic travel agencies to sell outbound group tours to 20 countries and territories, including seven in Southeast Asia, but Vietnam was not on the list.

"Tourism cooperation between the two countries has been a bright spot in bilateral cooperation," the ministry said in a document sent to China. "Before the pandemic, China was Vietnam's biggest feeder market and Vietnam was also among the top five sources of tourists to China."

In 2019, the year before the onset of the pandemic Vietnam received 5.5 million Chinese arrivals, accounting for 30% of total foreign arrivals in the country.

China has not yet resumed issuing tourist visas for Vietnamese and vice versa.

Vietnam last year received 3.6 million foreign tourists, mainly South Koreans and Americans. The country is targeting 8 million foreign arrivals this year.

HSBC forecast Vietnam could receive three to 4.5 million visitors from China this year, equivalent to 50%-80% of pre-pandemic levels, with China reopening.

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