EU, South Korea tourists give Vietnam much-needed rebound

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Foreign tourists at the site near the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo: Tran Tam Foreign tourists at the site near the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1. Photo: Tran Tam

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Foreign arrivals to Vietnam recovered in January with increases from most major markets especially South Korea, which has taken over China to become the biggest source of visitors.
The General Statistics Office reported more than 805,000 arrivals in the first month of the year, a 12.3 percent increase compared to a year ago. Compared to December, that was up nearly 6 percent.
Visitors from South Korea shot up more than 28 percent to 149,330, followed by China with 147,510 visitors.
Arrivals from Russia, a major market that many travel firms have been worried about recently, grew 23.7 percent.
Tourists from Russia and South Korea can stay in Vietnam for 15 days without a visa.
Most other markets that benefit from a similar visa policy, including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, saw increases of between 10 and 29 percent.
Finland is the only visa-free market whose arrivals stayed almost unchanged from January last year, although the number was up more than 61 percent from December.
Foreign arrivals to Vietnam last year dropped for the first time in six years, by 0.2 percent from 2014, according to figures from the statistics office.
The country has planned on better promotions and to issue visa waivers to more markets as it aims to attract 8.5 million foreign arrivals in 2016 and 10.5 million in 2020.

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