|Foreign tourists visit Ban Buoc Village in northern Hoa Binh Province's Mai Chau District. More foreign tourists came to Viet Namin the first eight months of this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
HA NOI (VNS) — The number of foreign tourists visiting Viet Nam increased by 9.5 per cent month-on-month in August 2014, according to figures from the General Statistics Office (GSO).
According to the GSO, an estimated 619,000 foreign tourists visited Viet Nam this month, bringing the total number of tourists in the first eight months of the year to 5.47 million, a 12.2 per cent year-on-year increase.
The figures showed that the number of foreign tourists seeking leisure and entertainment increased by 10.5 per cent year-on-year to 3.3 million while those on business increased by 12.9 per cent to 919,800, those visiting relatives increased by 15.8 per cent to 941,500, and those arriving here for other purposes leaped by 18.2 per cent to 307,300.
The number of tourist arrivals from most foreign countries and territories also increased during the first eight months of the year. Tourists from Hong Kong made up the majority at 97.5 per cent, followed by Germany at 83.3 per cent, Russia at 27.1 per cent and Spain at 24.3 per cent. Visitors from Laos made up 21.5 per cent of the total while Cambodia made up 20.1 per cent and the United Kingdom, 17.2 per cent.
The total number of domestic tourists in the first eight months is also expected to have a year-on-year surge of 6.9 per cent to 30.1 million.
The tourism industry gained a year-on-year increase of 20.4 per cent in revenue to VND159.8 trillion (US$7.5 billion). The country expects to serve an estimated 8 million to 8.2 million foreign tourists and 37.5 million domestic tourists this year and earn VND240 trillion ($113 billion) in the process.
According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, the country is applying a 30-day visa exemption for citizens from nine of the 10 ASEAN member States.
Tourists from seven other nations have likewise been granted a 15-day visa exemption. Asian nations covered by this exemption are Japan and the Republic of Korea, while Russia joins the European nations of Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden in enjoying the same privilege.
An estimated 42 per cent of foreign tourists to Viet Nam so far came from countries enjoying the visa exemptions, the administration said, and added that the exemptions were expected to further increase the number of foreign visitors in the coming months.
In line with this, the Ministries of Transportation and of Culture, Sport and Tourism are proposing visa exemptions for visitors from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and India.
Tourists from Western European countries often go on spending sprees and extended stays in Viet Nam. Australia and New Zealand are also seen as potential markets for tourism companies during the lean season.
Canada is in the list of the top 15 leading international tourist markets to Viet Nam, and India is expected to become a potential market with its large population. — VNS