Tourism sector enjoys high jump in year’s first half

Vietnam welcomed more than 4.28 million foreign tourists in the first half of this year, a year-on-year hike of 21.11 percent, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said on June 25.

Among top markets of Vietnamese tourism, Hong Kong (China) recorded the highest growth of 140.6 percent, followed by Germany (115.8 percent), Laos (38.8 percent) and China (37.4 percent).

Domestic tourists were estimated at 23.4 million, up 6.9 percent year on year, bringing the country’s tourism revenue in the reviewed period to 125 trillion VND (5.87 billion USD), up 22.5 percent against the same period last year.

Ho Chi Minh City recorded nearly 2.1 million foreign arrivals, equivalent to 48 percent of the year’s plan and up 10 percent year on year, while Hanoi attracted 1.39 million, a surge of 17.4 percent against the corresponding time last year.

Between January and June, some 1.6 million tourists visited the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, helping the locality’s revenue from tourism increase 21.8 percent. Foreign visitors generated 63.5 percent of the earnings.

In 2014, Thua Thien-Hue, one of the most attractive destinations in the central region, targets 2.8-3 million tourists, including at least 1.2 million from abroad.-

Hanoi eyes Japanese tourism market

The capital city is tailoring its marketing plan, aiming at making a concerted effort to increase Japanese tourism to offset the reduction of Chinese tourists stemming from the East Sea dispute.

Hanoi’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said in the near future, it is placing high hopes on making substantial gains in attracting Japanese tourists to the City, along with the expansion of tourists from other Asian and Eastern European countries.

For Japan alone, Hanoi is paying particular attention to increasing the quality of tourism products to serve the Japanese market as it is a large market that places great emphasis on quality, department officials said. Japanese love to travel and each year an estimated 20 million Japanese holiday abroad. So far, the number of Japanese travelling to Vietnam, and Hanoi specifically, is a miniscule proportion of the total, leaving ample room for growth, they said.

Additionally, Japanese travellers are tending to look for other destinations to replace China.

Hanoi and the Vietnam Tourism Association in Tokyo are cooperating in a joint effort to market tourism through the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA).  They are also jointly advertising reciprocal travel packages between Hanoi and Tokyo to attract Japanese tourists to the city.

For other markets, Hanoi will actively take part in tourism fairs, tourism promotion conferences, welcome the Familiarisation Trip (FAM) delegations, and make tourism surveys in the capital city and surrounding areas.

The capital city is actively promoting tourism on prestigious websites such as Trip Advisor, Smart Travel Asia, and Google and cooperating with the Vietnam Tourism Association to organize the Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM).

Activities are also underway to comprehensively stimulate demand via marketing efforts in hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, and areas of transporting guests.

More vacationers go to Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc island, a tourist hub in the southern province of Kien Giang, welcomed 268,000 holidaymakers, including 72,620 foreigners, in the first half of the year.

The figures marked a year-on-year rise of 26 percent and 34.8 percent, respectively, which are forecast to continue going upwardly in the second half of the year.

Phu Quoc National Park , which is covered with lush green foliage and tropical flowers, is one of the most popular scenic spots among vacationers. The 10,000-hectare area provides a rich habitat for 929 plants, 42 of which are listed in the Vietnamese and world red books of endangered flora species.

Phu Quoc prison, where nearly 40,000 revolutionaries were detained between 1967 and 1973, has also attracted over 4,810 holidaymakers both at home and abroad.

Vice Chairman of the Phu Quoc district People’s Committee Huynh Quang Hung said the island district will put into use many high-class resorts and hotels housing more than 2,000 rooms.

It will continue to create favourable conditions for investors to speed up tourism projects there, Hung added.

Notably, a policy to grant a 30-day visa exemption for foreign passport holders visiting the island took effect on March 10. The move is expected to help transform the world-famous tourist hub into a national and international hi-end holiday heaven.

Dubbed “ Paradise Pearl Island ”, Phu Quoc welcomed 94,000 foreign visitors out of its total 416,000 arrivals last year.

It is expected to gross 771 million USD from providing hospitality services to at least 2 million tourists annually by 2020, 40 percent of them foreigners.

Foreign arrivals increase by 21% in six months

Vietnam has received nearly 4.3 million foreign travelers during the first six months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 21.11%, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) announced on June 25.

VNAT statistics show that considerable growth was reported in most markets, with Hong Kong rising 140.61%, by German 115.87%, Laos 38.83%, China 37.45%, Cambodia 30.09%, Russia 25.95%, and Spain 25.73%.

However, the number of foreign tourists to Vietnam in June decreased 19.94% compared to the previous month and 4.85% against the same period last year.

In the first half of the year, Hanoi capital welcomed more than 1.39 million visitors, representing a 17.4% increase year on year. The number of Chinese holidaymakers to the capital city went up 30% in the first four months, but fell significantly recently following the standoff in the East Sea.

To make up the fall, the city plans to intensify tourism promotions in Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia and some other East European nations.

The VNAT reported that domestic tourists hit 23.4 million in the six-month period, 6.9% higher than the same period last year. Total tourism revenue reached VND125 trillion, up 34.28% year on year.

Low-cost airlines open new services

Budget carrier VietJet Air has begun to sell tickets for flights on the new route of Da Nang-Can Tho since June 25.

The first flight connecting major tourism and economic regions of the Central and the Mekong Delta will depart at 12 p.m in Da Nang and 2 p.m in Can Tho on July 22.

Vietjet will offer three return flights with a capacity of 1,100 seats per week.

Low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific will also launch direct route from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue with Airbus A320 plane of 180 seats since July 10.

The airline will provide one daily return flight that will depart at 10.25 a.m in Ho Chi Minh City and 12.20 p.m in Hue. A one-way ticket will cost VND550, 000.