HA NOI — Over 680,000 international tourists visited Viet Nam in February, up 8.2 per cent over January and 29.4 per cent over the same month last year, according to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Air travellers accounted for 87 per cent of the total figure, an increase of 31 per cent. The number of tourists arriving by sea also rose by 42 per cent, and the number driving into the country went up by 17 per cent.
During the month, Russian tourists saw the highest increase at 55 per cent, following by mainland China, 52 per cent; Taiwan, 41 per cent; South Korea, 38 per cent; Cambodia, 32 per cent; France, 19 per cent; and Japan, 17 per cent.
The latest addition has brought the total number of foreign tourists in the first two months to more than 1.3 million, a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent.
"The tourism industry's encouraging results are a bright spot in the current grim economic climate," the VNAT said in a report published on its website yesterday.
Viet Nam's tourism industry expected to welcome 6.5 million international tourists and 32 million local visitors this year, for an estimated turnover of VND150 trillion (US$7.1 billion), the VNAT said.
Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh predicted travel to increase in popularity and international tourism to continue growing.
He urged the industry to focus on improving the quality of services and develop unique tourism experiences to compete with other countries throughout the world.
Viet Nam should also promote maritime tourism, heritage tourism and eco-tourism in the future, and tourism companies should strengthen links between localities in order to form specific regional tourism products to attract visitors, he said.
The World Tourism Organisation predicted that the number of international tourists would reach 1 billion this year and estimated the total income of the world's tourism services at over $1 trillion.
Viet Nam hopes to receive 10-15 million foreign tourists and 47-48 million domestic tourists by 2020. The industry also expects to obtain a total revenue of about $18-19 billion, making up 6.5 – 7 per cent of GDP, and creating 3 million jobs, including 870,000 workers directly employed by the tourism trade. — VNS