The tourism crisis: No relief for Vietnam as visitor drop continues

Thanh Nien News

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The number of arrivals has fallen for 13 months in a row, with no end in sight

 

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 Foreign tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
The number of international arrivals in Vietnam has fallen for the 13th straight month in June, down 8.2 percent from May, local media quoted the General Statistics Office of Vietnam as saying on Sunday.
Around 3.8 million foreigners visited the country in the first half, a 11.3 percent drop from the same period last year. 
Sea travel saw the sharpest decline with arrivals going down 26.5 percent year-on-year. 
The downturn hit most of Vietnam's traditional tourism markets, including Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain.
One of the reasons was the lack of diverse products and high prices, according to the office, which also blamed the situation on management failings.
Unsure
Speaking to news website Saigon Times Online, representatives of many tour operators said the situation was "very difficult." 
They said they were unsure if the situation will improve in the second half of the year, even though the government has recently issued several positive policies, most notably the visa waver for visitors from Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and Spain, starting from next month.
Ung Phuong Dung, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Indochina Services Travel Group, for instance, did not think that the picture of European market, which her company is majored in, will become brighter anytime soon.
The euro's depreciation against the US dollar has made Vietnamese tours' prices increase by 15-20 percent for European travelers, she said.
Indochina Services saw a decrease of 20 percent in the number of European customers last year, Dung said, adding her company is now promoting tours among visitors from the visa-waiver countries.

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