Tourists visit Ha Noi's Old Quarter. Viet Nam welcomed nearly 440,000 foreign tourists in May, an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to the same period last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
Ha Noi — Viet Nam welcomed nearly 440,000 foreign arrivals in May, an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Most of the tourists were from mainland China, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, France, Malaysia and the US. The number of Chinese tourists surged remarkably, up by 111 per cent compared to last May.
Ministry statistics revealed that about 2.2 million foreign arrivals passed through the country's borders in the past five months, representing a 37 per cent increase over the same period last year. HCM City was the most popular destination, with 1.3 million arrivals, accounting for more than 50 per cent of all foreign tourists across the country.
Experts said the increase could be attributed to efforts by the national tourism sector to organise various programmes and take full advantage of large cultural events, including the 35th anniversary of the Liberation of South Viet Nam and the national reunification, the 120th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh and the Sen (Lotus) Village Festival. Viet Nam Ethnic Culture Week in northern Thai Nguyen Province and the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Ha Noi are also considered big tourist draws.
A large number of domestic travellers were also reported during the long Reunification Day (April 30) and May Day holiday.
Many tour agencies and companies are offering tourists stimulus package programmes. Central Khanh Hoa Province will launch a programme to reduce the cost of entertainment services and air tickets by 30-50 per cent, and central Da Nang City will offer a 5-25 per cent price reduction programme in August and September.
More tourist arrivals
Viet Nam's tourism industry hopes to attract 1 million Chinese visitors this year, officials have said.
In the first quarter of the year, Chinese tourists to Viet Nam increased 215 per cent year-on-year, according to Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Department of Travel Agents under the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.
He said the national flag carrier Viet Nam Airlines launched direct air routes from Ha Noi and HCM City to Shanghai.
"The last two programmes promoted in Shanghai and the two eastern coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu can be considered to be successful with the attendance of representatives from around 100 Chinese tourist companies. They were interested in Viet Nam sea travel," Tuan said.
After the first tourism promotion programme held in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Sichuan last year, 100 travel companies have carried out surveys in Viet Nam with the aim to create new tours.
"The Tourism Bureau of Sichuan, the province with more than 100 million people, along with a group of enterprises and media, surveyed Viet Nam last March. They want to open a direct air link with at least charter flights from Sichuan to Viet Nam," Tuan said. — VNS