The Hanoi-based General Statistics Office has attracted doubts about its statistics after revealing that the country earned US$7.5 billion this year from 7.5 million-odd international tourists, indicating that single visitors spent nearly $1,000 on average.
Analysts and insiders said the figures could not be true.
According to a number of travel companies, travelers from Asia have dominated others in recent years -- with those from China accounting for nearly 27 percent this year's total number -- but they typically spend less than western travelers.
The number of tourists from western countries like Canada, Germany, and the US has been declining, they said.
Pham Van Du, director of a HCMC-based tourism company that operates inbound tours for European visitors, said expenses for a customer of his company's stands at around $500, plus $100 on shopping and excluded fees.
The statistics office took into account an estimated 2.51 million people who were on business trips or came to Vietnam for health treatment to squeeze out the total number of over 7.5 million visitors, a 10.6-percent increase from last year.
Many experts have suggested that Vietnam adopt Travel and Tourism Satellite Accounts, an international standard that more than 50 countries have embraced globally, according to the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries in the US.
Nguyen Manh Cuong, deputy general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, agreed, saying real figures about tourism were urgently needed and would enable the country to take proper measures to promote its tourism.
In Vietnam, analysts have long complained about problems with the way domestic agencies compile statistics.
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