HCM CITY — Viet Nam this year will likely receive a record number of foreign tourists and foreign-currency turnover, according to a report from the General Statistics Department.
The country welcomed nearly 2.5 million foreign visitors in the first four months of the year.
If this number of foreign visitors continues for the rest of the year, the country will receive more than seven million foreigners, a record number.
Last year, more than 6 million foreigners visited the country, and the domestic tourism industry earned more than US$934 from each foreign visitor.
Based on this figure, the industry is expected to earn more than US$6.5 billion this year.
The number of foreign visitors to Viet Nam with work purposes had the highest growth rate, 26.7 per cent, of all categories, including tourists and visitors who came to see their relatives.
About 1.3 million foreigners are expected to visit Viet Nam for work purposes by year-end, experts have estimated.
Independent market watchdogs noted that this was an encouraging sign because it showed that many foreign investors were seeking investment opportunities here, particularly as prices have dropped sharply in securities and real estate markets.
The country has also further penetrated the world market through the implementation of more trade commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation.
The number of tourists to Viet Nam on cruise ships was also on the rise, with an increase of 67 per cent in April and 40 per cent in the first four months of the year.
In the four-month period, the number of tourists from mainland China was 513,200, up by 23.3 per cent; South Korea, 276,600, up by 49.3 per cent; Japan, 211,900, up 25.3 per cent; Taiwan, 155,900, up 30.2 per cent; Malaysia, 93,400, up 28.3 per cent; and Russia, 74,700, up 50.9 per cent.
However, experts said Viet Nam's current ratio of seven foreign tourists to every 100 people was still low, compared with rates of many countries, despite the many advantages that the country has compared to others.
They urged drastic improvements in tourism laws and regulations, as well as protection and preservation of landscapes and historical relics. — VNS