Vietnam tourism industry has celebrated an amazing Christmas Day in 2016 when the 10 th million visitor of UK nationality arrived in Phu Quoc International Airport. Together with this visitor, two other visitors- the 9,999,999 th visitor of German nationality and the 10,000,001st visitor of Swedish nationality were hailed and received mementoes and souvenirs from the tourism sector leaders.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), most of the international visitor groups to Vietnam saw a phenomenal growth this year. From the [beginning of the] year to late December 2016, visitors from Northeast Asia claimed the largest share surpassing 30 per cent. Most of the visitors came from China, South Korea and Japan with high spending levels. In addition, the visitors from the five West European countries: Italy, Spain, UK, France, and Germany, that were visa exemptions (for a stay less than 15 days) from July 2015, also saw a remarkable growth. In the first 10 months this year, 635,000 visitors from these five countries came to Vietnam, a 16 per cent jump from last year. Of which, a 30 per cent rise in visitors from Italy, 27 per cent from Spain, 22 per cent from UK, 19 per cent from Germany, and 13 per cent more from France.
Visitors from Russia, Vietnam’s largest market in Europe, witnessed a 27 per cent jump, whereas smaller markets also experienced fair growth levels: the Netherlands (up 24 per cent), Sweden (22 per cent), Canada (15 per cent), the US (14 per cent) and New Zealand (35 per cent). According to VNAT chief Nguyen Van Tuan, international visitors to Vietnam set two records last year: the number of foreign visitors in a year (surpassing 10 million visitors) and an increase annual level against the previous year (more than two million compared to 2015).
These impressive figures showcase the exceptional progress the local tourism sector has achieved in recent years thanks to successful image promotion programs. With the target of receiving 11.5 million foreign visitors in 2017, the tourism sector is deploying a raft of innovative solutions to boost their image.
Accordingly, priority will be given to attracting visitor groups from West Europe and Northeast Asia, particularly Chinese outbound visitors, which have been reported to have a fast-paced growth. “This year, VNAT will tailor large-scale promotions, such as hosting Vietnam Tourism Year in South Korea or Korean Tourism Year in Vietnam, road-shows or attending tourism fairs in foreign countries.The application of IT progress into tourism development such as e-marketing or online visa provision to international visitors will be fast-tracked. Through concentrating into each specific visitor group and target market, the tourism sector will determine focal target markets, from there introducing suitable marketing trajectories,” said Le Tuan Anh, head of VNAT’s Tourism Market Department.
Vu The Binh, chairman of Vietnam Tourism Association, commented, “The application of suitable policies last year such as visa exemption for citizens from five West Europe countries prompted a sharp growth in foreign visitor numbers. Besides, that was contributions from the tourism departments in localities, businesses and investors alike. If we succeeded in maintaining a 15 per cent annual growth, Vietnam could double its visitor number within the next five years.”
Last year, the country welcomed 10 million foreign visitors, served 62 million locals and reaped VND400 trillion ($18 billion) in tourism revenue. This year, the tourism sector aims to greet 11.5 million foreign visitors, 66 million locals, and aim to gain VND460 trillion ($20.9 billion) in tourism revenue, striving to become a spearhead industry by 2020.
By Hoang Anh