|Two of first 180 foreign visitors to central Da Nang City on the first day of 2016. The city hosts more than 56,000 foreigners during the Christmas season and the New Year, up 26.1 per cent year-on-year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam
HA NOI (VNS) — Hundreds of foreign tourists arrived in Viet Nam on the first day of 2016, promising a busy season for the tourism industry in the Year of Monkey.
On January 1, HCM City welcomed the first international delegation of over 500 visitors from Japan and Taiwan.
The city's Department of Tourism in conjunction with the municipal Tourism Association (HTA) and the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines held a ceremony to welcome the first visitors.
Foreign holidaymakers were treated to Vietnamese tea and coffee for free at Tan Son Nhat international airport and received gifts such as non la (palm-leaf conical hat).
Hideyuki Okahara from Japan said he was glad to be warmly welcomed at the airport and described this as a surprising gift for him and his family.
Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism La Quoc Khanh said the ceremony kicks off a series of events in the 2016 tourism festival, which also include an ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) show, southern food and fruit festivals.
It aims to promote the image of the city as an attractive, safe, and friendly destination for foreign tourists, he added.
HCM City greeted nearly 4.6 million international vacationers in 2015, a year-on-year increase of 4.6 per cent.
The local tourism sector grossed VND94.6 trillion (US$4.16 billion) in revenue, a yearly rise of 10 per cent.
In 2016, the southern hub aims to welcome 5.1 million foreign tourists and 21.8 million domestic ones.
Also on the first day of the New Year, the central city of Da Nang welcomed the first 180 foreign visitors at an international airport of the same name.
The tourists are scheduled to visit attractions such as Ba Na Hill, Son Tra Peninsula, "Ngu Hanh Son" (Marble Mountains), and Cham Museum.
According to the local Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, more than 56,000 foreigners are reported to visit Da Nang during the Christmas season and the Calendar New Year, up 26.1 per cent year-on-year.
Deputy Director Tran Chi Cuong said the local tourism industry earned VND12.7 trillion ($558.8 million) in revenue in 2015, surpassing the yearly target by 7.6 per cent.
The city served 4.6 million visitors during the year, including over 1.2 million international tourists, exceeding the annual target by 8.7 per cent.
In 2016, it aims to welcome over 5.1 million visitors, including 1.32 million from abroad, to gross VND14 trillion ($616 million) in revenue. — VNS