Japanese experts arriving in Việt Nam on June 26 at Vân Đồn International Airport in Quảng Ninh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — In the first eight months of 2020, foreign arrivals into Việt Nam reached only 3.8 million, down by 67 per cent compared to the figure of 11.3 million recorded in the same period last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted travel.
The number was announced by the General Statistics Office Of Việt Nam (GSO) over the weekend.
Most of the arrivals were before March 22, the day Việt Nam started closing its border to nearly all foreign arrivals in a bid to curb coronavirus spread.
The country only in recent months allows a few exceptions – foreign diplomats, investors, highly skilled workers and experts, along with some flights repatriating Vietnamese citizens. All foreign entries are quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
Of the 3.8 million, 3.05 million arrived in Việt Nam by air, while 580,000 and 140,000 entered the country via land and sea routes.
The agency said while 163,000 foreign arrivals in August is an improvement of 17 per cent compared to July, it still marks a 99 per cent decline compared to the number in 2019.
Visitors from Asia, accounting for more than 73 per cent of the total number of international arrivals to Việt Nam this year, fell by nearly 70 per cent over the same period last year.
Arrivals from key markets such as China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia all posted record losses of 72 per cent, 70.5 per cent, 67 per cent, 68 per cent, 59 per cent, and 70 per cent, respectively, within the eight months of 2020.
However, arrivals from neighbouring Cambodia increased by nearly 71 per cent, according to the GSO.
Visitors from Europe in the past eight months were estimated to fall by nearly 55 per cent over the same period of 2019.
Arrivals from the Americas are estimated to have decreased by more than 65 per cent compared to the first eight months of 2019.
In a cabinet meeting held on Friday, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc asked that the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control and ministries discuss opening flights to epidemiologically safe countries and regions, including resuming flights to Japan conducted by Vietnamese airlines.
He also urged ministries and agencies to closely monitor and accelerate granting of visas to foreign experts and investors.
Deputy head of Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism Hà Văn Siêu in a recent recovery-focused tourism meeting said the Government implemented policies early to aid people and businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
Hotels and tourism accommodation businesses that registered to be used as paid quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients or foreign entries into the country will enjoy a 20 per cent cut in electricity rates, while many fees such as appraisal fee for international travel business licences, domestic tour business licences, and for issuance of tour guide certificates have been cut in half, Siêu said. — VNS