Vietnam achieves 2023 foreign tourist target

By Hoang Phong    September 28, 2023 | 11:27 pm PT
Vietnam achieves 2023 foreign tourist target
Spanish tourists pose for photos in front of a temple in Hoi An ancient town, September 2023. Photo by Nguyen Anh Tuan
Vietnam has welcomed 8.9 million international visitors in the first nine months, already beating this year's 8 million target.

The nine-month figure was up 4.7 times year-on-year but equivalent to 69% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to a report released by the General Statistics Office on Friday.

September recorded 1.05 million foreign arrivals, marking the third consecutive month when foreign tourist arrivals exceeded 1 million.

South Korea has been the largest source of tourist arrivals with over 2.5 million in the first nine months, followed by China (1.1 million).

Taiwan has surpassed the U.S. (548,000) to become the third biggest tourist sender with 575,000, and Japan came fifth with 414,000.

Hoang Nhan Chinh, secretariat director of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, said Vietnam's tourism industry had received strong support from the government in relaxing visa policies.

By the end of the year, Vietnam can welcome 12-13 million international visitors, or even more, he added.

The peak season of international tourism season typically lasts from September until April next year as Western tourists flock to Vietnam for a winter holiday break.

Starting from August 15, Vietnam accepted e-visa registration from citizens from all countries and territories, with the visa valid for multiple entries and for 90 days.

In addition to grating e-visas to all countries, the government also extended the duration of stays in Vietnam from 15 to 45 days for citizens of 13 countries unilaterally exempted from visas.

In 2019, the country welcomed a record 18 million foreign visitors and earned tourism revenues of VND750 trillion ($30 billion).

Southeast Asian countries have sped up in an international tourism recovery race, relaxing visa policies and boosting tourism promotion campaigns.

Earlier this week, Thailand started granting visa exemption for Chinese and Kazakhstan tourists while Indonesia recently offered its golden visa policy that allows foreigners to stay up to 10 years.

Thailand has recorded over 19 million foreign tourists so far this year, over half of its year’s target.

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