|Since July 1, 2015, visitors from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, along with Spain have been allowed to enter the country without a visa for 15 days. The visa exemption will last until June 30, 2016. — VNA/VNS Photo An Hieu
HA NOI (VNS) — International visitors to Viet Nam witnessed a modest year-on-year decrease of 0.2 per cent to 7.94 million in 2015, the latest report from the General Statistics Office (GSO) reveals.
The slight drop - the first since 2009, came despite the five consecutive months of increases in the number.
According to the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism, the number of foreign arrivals gained a year-on-year surge of 5.1 per cent to 593,566 in July, 7.5 per cent to 664,985 in August, 8.3 per cent to 626,324 in September, and 16.1 per cent to 649.099 in October, in addition to 20.4 per cent to 732,740 in November.
The GSO said that this year visitors travelling by sea surged significantly by 27.5 per cent over the same period last year, while visitors arriving by air increased 1 per cent and arrivals by road plunged 6.5 per cent.
Four Asian countries, recording rises in number of visitors to Viet Nam were South Korea, up 31.3 per cent, Singapore up 17 per cent, Malaysia up 4.1 per cent, and Japan which rose 3.6 per cent. However, the number of visitors from some other Asian nations dropped. These were Cambodia, down 44 per cent, Laos, which dropped 17 per cent, Thailand dropped 13.1 per cent, and Indonesia dropped 9.3 per cent, in addition to China which dropped 8.5 per cent.
Modest decreases were also witnessed in several markets included those of Russia, France, Sweden and Australia.
During the period, Viet Nam saw a surge in the number of visitors from Africa by 44.3 per cent, Italy by 10.4 and Spain by 10.6 per cent, and the United States by 10.7 per cent, in addition to Netherlands which rose 7.8 per cent, and the United Kingdom (UK) which rose 5.2 per cent.
In early 2016, the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) would ask the Government to grant an extension on visa exemptions for visitors of five western European countries. That would ensure that tourism companies make plans on promotion and advertisements in the long-term, head of the VNAT Nguyen Van Tuan said.
Since July 1, 2015, visitors from the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, along with Spain have been allowed to enter the country without a visa for 15 days. The visa exemption will last until June 30, 2016.
However, industry insiders suggested that this should be increased to 30 days, or at least 21, since visitors from such far places would like to stay for longer durations. They also called for continuing with the policy for at least two years and extending it to all European countries. — VNS