|Sea of people: A view of the crowded Đà Nẵng beach. The city received a record high number of tourists in the first half of this year. — VNA Photo Trần Lê Lâm|
HÀ NỘI — The first half of this year has been one of the most remarkable periods in the history of Vietnamese tourism, a senior official said yesterday.
Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, director of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said at a press conference that the number of foreign tourists visiting the country in the first six months crossed 6,200,000, a 30.2 per cent increase over the same period last year.
The number of domestic tourists during the period was 40.7 million.
Total income from tourism activities reached approximately VNĐ254,700 billion (US$11.17 billion), a 27 per cent increase over the same period last year.
South Koreans, Japanese and Chinese accounted for 50 per cent of the total number of foreign tourists, he said.
Places like Đà Nẵng City, the central province of Quảng Nam, the northern province of Quảng Ninh and the central provinces of Khánh Hòa, Phú Yên and Bình Định saw the highest-ever number of tourists in the first six months.
In Đà Nẵng alone, as many as 3.2 million people visited the city, with the number of foreign tourists rising by 72 per cent year on year, thanks to a series of attractive events including the International Fireworks Festival lasting nearly two months.
According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 compiled by the World Economic Forum, Việt Nam rose eight places in just one year to rank 67th in the world.
“The main drivers of the country’s T&T competitiveness are its natural resources (34th), cultural resources (30th) and price competitiveness (35th). Viet Nam has made significant progress on its human resources and labour market pillar (37th, up 18 places) scores, thanks to a better-qualified labour force (53rd) and partially simplified regulations on hiring foreign labour (75th)”, the report says.
The impressive growth of the sector “reflects the brightness painting the whole economy”, Tuấn said.
He said that though the agency did not have concrete figures on the number of tourists and income earned tourism in central provinces that suffered from mass fish deaths last year as a result of the Formosa company’s pollution of sea waters in Hà Tĩnh Province, tourism in the area has completely recovered from the incident.
Tuấn also said that political stability in the country has lured international guests while certain changes in the awareness of Vietnamese people have motivated them to visit domestic destinations more than foreign ones.
Easier procedures in applying for visas to Việt Nam for foreign tourists, as well as visa exemptions for guests from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have also helped attract more tourists from these markets, he said.
Despite the impressive achievements, the sector continued to face the long-standing challenges of a lack of skilled human resources, especially in rapidly-growing destinations like Phú Quốc Island in southern province of Kiên Giang..
“In some destinations, trash has caused serious pollution, there have been robberies here and there, some cases of food poisoning have been recorded and traffic safety is still a burning issue for tourism managers,” said Vũ Quốc Trí, a VNAT official.
Talking about tasks in the remaining six months of the year, Tuấn stressed the need to complete regulations for implementing the revised Tourism Law that will take effect on January 1, 2018.
“The law will be centered around tourists’ benefits, and focused on promoting community tourism products, enhancing tourism profits for the local community and establishing a fund for supporting tourism development from the State budget, visa fees, and other tourism fees,” he said.
The VNAT’s annual awards ceremony will be held at the Hà Nội Opera House on July 8, it was announced at the press briefing.
The agency will give awards to top ten international and domestic travel agencies in the country; top 10 five-star, four-star and three-star hotels; top ten restaurants; top 7 destinations, top five resorts, top ten golf courses; the airlines with the most tourists and airlines with the most rapid growth in the country.
VNAT officials also inform the press about the 13th International Travel Expo to be held in HCM City between September 7 and 9. The event will gather 300 exhibitors, 50 communication partners from all over the world and is expected to attract 35,000 visitors.
Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of HCM City Tourism Department, said that the event attracted 26,000 visitors last year, and facilitated more than 3,600 meetings between buyers and sellers of tourism products and services. — VNS