|Foreign tourists fill in mandatory health declaration forms upon arrival at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on March 7, before Việt Nam sealed off its border later that month against most foreign entries in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam welcomed only 3.8 million foreign arrivals in 2020, down 78.7 per cent from last year, as a result of the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Over 96 per cent of the total figure came to the country in the first quarter, before social distancing measures and strict border closures were imposed in late March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
As the country has yet to reopen to international tourists, most foreign arrivals since the second quarter have been diplomats, or experts, business executives and skilled personnel working in projects deemed necessary for socio-economic development in the country.
In December alone, the number of foreign arrivals was down 8.1 per cent month-on-month and 99 per cent year-on-year.
For the year as a whole, foreign visitors coming by air accounted for 80.3 per cent of the total, down 78.6 per cent against 2019, by road down 81.9 per cent, and by sea down 45.2 per cent.
Those from Asia made up 73.3 per cent of the total, down 80.4 per cent, the GSO said, noting that arrivals from all main markets nose-dived, including China, down 83.5 per cent, the Republic of Korea 80.4 per cent, Japan 78.4 per cent, Taiwan (China) 78.8 per cent, Cambodia 46.6 per cent, and Malaysia 80.7 per cent.
Meanwhile, visitors from Europe fell 69 per cent and America 75.7 per cent compared to 2019, the GSO reported.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said the country holds many advantages from bringing COVID-19 under control quickly. Domestic travel stimulus programmes have been widely promoted to realise the twin targets of fighting the outbreak and recovering the economy.
Online tourism marketing and communications increased due to the pandemic, VNAT noted, adding that it will boost investment in e-marketing and cooperation with major tech firms around the world to apply the most modern technologies in the tourism sector. — VNS