Vietnam has released the first annual tourism report, naming the top visitor markets and the biggest spenders in 2014.
According to the report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Australians topped the list in terms of spending per trip. The number of visitors from Australia increased steadily from 2010 to 321,089 last year, making it the ninth largest market.
Each Australian tourist spent $1,677 per trip, followed by those from Germany and the UK. The average expenditure of overnight international tourists was $1,114.
Australians stayed an average of nearly 15 and a half days each trip. German tourists stayed the longest, nearly 16 days.
China was the biggest market with around 1.95 million visitors coming in last year. Chinese visitors stayed less than a week and spent $790 per trip.
The report showed 7.9 million international tourist arrivals in 2014, who contributed nearly $7.9 billion or 60 percent of tourism revenues that year.
More than half of them came based on recommendations from friends and relatives, while 20 percent took their trips after reading about Vietnam on the Internet.
A graphic by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism shows foreign tourists' arrivals and spending in Vietnam in 2014.
The entire tourism sector earned $11.37 billion or 6.5 percent of GDP last year. It also help provided 2.95 million jobs or 5.6 percent of the national workforce, including 1.6 million working directly in the field of accommodation and food and beverage services.
VNAT produced the report
with support from the EU-funded Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism program.
The report also compared Vietnam with Thailand and Malaysia, suggesting that their tourism sectors are much more competitive thanks to their tourist service infrastructure and air transport infrastructure. It noted that in terms of prices, the three countries are relatively equal.
Tourism minister Hoang Tuan Anh said at a National Assembly session on Tuesday that the sector posted a total revenue of $15 billion so far this year, as international tourist arrivals have increased in recent months after months of declines.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh speaks at a National Assembly session in Hanoi on November 17, 2015. Photo: Ngoc Thang.
Anh said that Vietnam has a lot of advantages for tourism development, such as stable social and political environment, delicious cuisine and many attractions, including famous UNESCO heritages.
But he said tourism service quality also depends on other factors such as infrastructure, transport, and environment.
He said he could not provide an answer on when Vietnam’s tourism industry will be able to catch up with that of Thailand or Malaysia.
“I cannot answer that,” said Anh, who took the post in 2007.