|Yamamoto Shoichi, of Japan, who arrived on a flight from Tokyo at 2:20 pm, was welcomed at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.—VNA/VNS Pholto Phuong Vi
HCM CITY (VNS)— The HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism yesterday welcomed the city's four millionth foreign visitor for 2013.
Yamamoto Shoichi, of Japan, who arrived on a flight from Tokyo at 2:20 pm, was welcomed at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
"I am so surprised and happy to be warmly welcomed on my first visit to Viet Nam on the occasion of the year-end holiday," he said.
"I am looking forward to a meaningful trip in HCM City where I can visit many places of historical interest and experience some fantastic sightseeing," he added.
La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the department, said that the city expected to receive a total of 4.1 million foreign visitors by December 31, a year-on-year increase of 8 per cent.
In December, the city welcomed 420,000 foreign visitors.
The number of Japanese tourists visiting HCM City is expected to reach more than 345,000 this year.
Japan is one of three major markets for the city's tourism sector, with an average growth rate of more than 10 per cent per year in recent years.
The city's tourism turnover is estimated to rise to VND82 trillion (US$3.9 billion), an increase of 15 per cent compared with last year.
"The city tourism sector has maintained its position as one of the country's leading tourism centres with a stable growth rate," Khanh said.
Hue Monuments Conservation Centre yesterday held a ceremony in the former Royal Palace to kick off the year's third Golden Tourism Week and welcome the year's two millionth visitor to the site.
Visitors to the Hue Heritage site during the week, which lasted from December 24 to 30, took part in a range of promotions.
As part of the promotion week, prizes including free accommodation in 5-star hotel rooms, free tour services of "Heritage Road", and a cash sum were awarded to Japanese national Yoshimi Muto, the 2,000,000th visitor; English national Conlin Tapp, the 1,999,999th visitor; and Vietnamese Nguyen Thi Thu Thanh, 2,000,001st visitor.
The occasion marked a major milestone for the site. According to the centre's director Phan Thanh Hai, the centre expected to receive 2.1 million tourists this year and earn total revenues of VND126 billion (US$6 million).
On the same day, the centre opened an exhibition at the palace's long corridor featuring 62 photos depicting the beauty of old Hue monuments and landscapes. The photos were taken by local photographers of Pham Ba Thinh, Dang Xuan Tran, and Hoang Xuan Tri. — VNS