Vietnam Foreign arrivals up in March

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The number of foreign tourists to arrive in Viet Nam in March reached 473,000, lifting the total arrivals in the first quarter to 1.35 million, up 36.2 percent over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The number of visitors from Cambodia was reported to be the highest increase of 147.2 percent, followed by mainland China with a surge of 115 percent. Visitors from Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia also rose sharply between 22 percent and 37 percent.

Foreign tourists from Japan, France and Malaysia also rose significantly between 12 and 15 percent.

The ministry’s statistics showed that most foreign tourists arrived by air or road.

The ministry attributed the increase to the recovery of the world’s economy, especially in Asian countries, which are traditional markets to Viet Nam’s tourism industry.

The implementation of promotional campaigns and the organisation of attractive festivals also contributed to the surge, the ministry said.

This year, the country has targeted to attract 4.5-4.6 million foreign tourists and 27-28 million local visitors for a revenue of VND75-78 trillion (US$ 4.2-4.3 billion), according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

It said that this year the tourism sector would gain further ground as Viet Nam undertakes the ASEAN chairmanship and organizes the celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Ha Noi.

To meet the targets, Vu The Binh, head of the National Administration of Tourism’s Travel Department, said that the industry would implement discounts and promotional programmes to combine tourism with trade.

Improving the quality of service was also very important to leave a deep impression on visitors and make them feel that Viet Nam is a truly attractive destination, Binh said.

The number of locals booking trips to Europe, Asia and Japan for the upcoming holidays of the Liberation Day and Labour Day that fall on 30 April and 1 May has increased significantly, according to tour operators.

Representatives of the Viet Nam Tourist Company’s Ha Noi branch said they had received 1,000 bookings, 400 of which were international.

Vietravel Ha Noi had roughly 1,200 tours booked, up roughly 400 over the same period last year, said Duong Mai Lan, head of the company’s research development division.

Lan attributed the attraction of outbound tours to the fare discount programmes run by foreign airlines and the shopping tastes of local tourists.

The two companies said that so far they had not received bookings for Hong Kong-Disneyland-Macau tours and were preparing to stop taking bookings for tours to Cambodia and Malaysia-Singapore due to high demand.

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