Vietnam’s tourism sees strong 2017 start with Jan-Feb record growth

A record year for visitors from the Chinese mainland is filling municipal coffers, but tensions are emerging as the Vietnamese tourism industry struggles to keep up

Laos, China and Cambodia top the list of foreign arrivals to Vietnam last month.

Vietnam has received more than 2.2 million foreign visitors in January-February, up 33 percent from a year ago, the government said, putting the country on track to meet its annual target to welcome 11.5 million foreigners this year.

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In February alone, 1.2 million foreigners arrived in Vietnam, an increase of 42 percent from the same month in 2016, the government’s General Statistics Office said. February is the second consecutive month when foreign tourist arrivals exceeded a million.

Tourism contributes nearly 9 percent to the Southeast Asian country’s economy, which has one of Asia’s fastest growth rates, rising 6.2 percent last year.

Most notably, visitors from Laos showed a significant annual growth rate of 87 percent in the two-month period, topping the list of foreign arrivals, followed by Chinese and Cambodian visitors.

Arrivals by air and sea have both increased in February from the previous month, with arrivals by sea soaring nearly 120 percent, while traveling by road slightly decreased.

The continuous growth of tourist arrivals can be partly attributed to Vietnam’s efforts to relax its visa policy, helping to attract more visitors.

Citizens from all major target markets of Vietnam’s tourism sector are eligible for e-visa application to enter Vietnam, the government has said. For the full list of eligible nationalities, click here.

In 2017, Vietnam aim to attract 11.5 million international tourists, up 15 percent from last year, while revenue is also projected to 15 percent to VND460 trillion ($20.2 billion). Last year the number of foreign arrivals hit a record 10 million.

-VNExpress

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