Strong tourism rebound in October gives Vietnam first relief in months

Thanh Nien News

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Foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach Foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach


Foreign arrivals to Vietnam have continued to recover this month with a strong year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent. 
Around 649,100 foreign visitors arrived this month, up 3.6 percent from September, according to a new report from the General Statistics Office.
But the year-to-date figure of more than 6.3 million was still 4.1 percent lower than the same period last year, due to sharp declines in the earlier months. 
Tourist numbers in Vietnam had gone through 13 months declines, including a sharp fall of 23.4 percent in March, before started to inch up in July. 
The double-digit increase in October came with a strong recovery in the top visitor market, China, with the arrival number surging 16.4 percent from last month and 22 percent from a year ago, to 175,000. 
China’s economic slowdown and its sovereignty tension with Vietnam may have discouraged Chinese tourists earlier this year, according to Vietnam’s tourism agencies.
Visitors from the US rose 14 percent from last month and 18.3 percent from October last year, to 35,700.
Notably there are also a strong increase in the number of visitors from the UK, who have received various incentives including the recent visa waiver and non-stop flight services. Their number was up 28.4 percent from October last year.
Vietnam has also seen the UK as an important market, spending $30,000 to promote top tourist attractions in a video on the UK’s Travel Channel.
Vietnam has offered a large number of visa waivers this year in an attempt to save its tourism industry.
The country in January allowed visitors from Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland to visit for 15 days without a visa. 
In July it did the same for passport holders from Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Belarus. It has also allowed overseas Vietnamese and their foreign spouses and children to visit without restriction. 
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism earlier forecast that foreign arrivals in the last three months of the year would surge as it is proposing visa waivers for 19 more countries and launching new promotional campaigns.

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