HANOI, 2 August 2016:

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimates the country welcomed 846,311 international travellers in July representing an increase of 41.2% over the same month last year. China was the top source market with 263,971 visits improving 93.3%. Other top performers were South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the US.

Thailand slipped off the top 10 list recording 17,865 visits an increase of 54.0% during the same month last year. Neighboring Cambodia also ranked in ninth place posting 21,097 visits, up 105.2%. All of the country’s top markets are in the Asia/Pacific region with the exception of the US (fifth), Russia (seventh) and the United Kingdom (10th).

The bulk of arrivals in July (739,849) passed through the two main aviation gateways Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.For January to July, this year, the country welcomed 5,552,635 international tourists – up 24.0% over the same period last year.

VNAT updated its data on its website, Monday, sourced from the government statistics office. The tourism sector targets USD30 billion in annual tourism receipts by 2020, which would be a 10% share of GDP, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plan. Vietnam earned USD15.1 billion, last year, and attracted more than 7.9 million international visitors and 57 million domestic tourists.

Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister, Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said that Vietnam hopes to attract 14 to 15 million international visitors a year by 2020 and create around 3.5 million jobs in the tourism sector. “Those targets are feasible because we are going enjoy many development opportunities,” he said.

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VNAT deputy head, Ha Van Sieu, added: “The target is reachable if the government adopts supporting policies and ministries and agencies boost collaboration in developing tourism… but infrastructure, policy and human resources are major challenges for the industry. The country should develop land and air links to make it more convenient to travel between tourist destinations, increase airport handling capacities, improve tourism management and tighten regulations”, he suggested.

Vietnam decided to extend visa exemptions by an additional year for tourists from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to boost travel arrivals. Nationals of the five countries will enjoy visa-free travel for a 15-day stay until the ruling expires 30 July 2017.

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