The number of international tourists to Vietnam in December 2021 rose by 14.2 percent compared to that of the previous month as the country is piloting the welcome of foreign visitors and international commercial flights are being resumed.
According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam welcomed 157,300 foreign holiday-makers last year, down 95.9 percent year-on-year.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), 2021 continued to be a turbulent year for the tourism industry as the COVID-19 pandemic maintained its complicated developments, causing service and tourism linkages interrupted.
Tourism enterprises have been facing many difficulties, and financially exhausted with many having to close, stop operation or withdraw their business licenses. Accommodation establishments across the country operate only about 5-10 percent of their capacity. Most of the workers in this industry have lost their jobs or been forced to change their jobs.
In that context, the tourism industry has closely coordinated with ministries, sectors and localities across the country to focus on implementing the "dual goals" of fighting the pandemic and restoring tourism in the new situation.
For domestic tourists, the sector has implemented a domestic tourism programme that adapts safely and flexibly to, and effectively controls the COVID-19 pandemic with a motto of “Safe travel - Full experience”. Therefore, tourism activities have started to prosper, and domestic tourism is gradually recovering with Hanoi welcoming 4 million visitors in 2021, Da Nang 1.1 million arrivals, Lam Dong 2.2 million arrivals, Quang Ninh 4.3 million arrivals, and Thanh Hoa 3.4 million tourists.
In November, the first groups of international tourists travelled to Quang Nam, Phu Quoc and Khanh Hoa under a pilot programme to welcome international tourists back to Vietnam after a long hiatus. This is the result of efforts made by Vietnam's tourism industry in general and the business community in particular in overcoming difficulties and recovering from the pandemic.
In 2021, Vietnam’s tourism continued to pocket prestigious prizes. It won the title of Asia’s Leading Destination in the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2021.
The WTA also honoured Vietnam as Asia’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination, and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism as Asia’s Leading Tourist Board 2021. Hoi An in Quang Nam province was named Asia’s Leading Cultural City Destination, Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh as Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction, and Ninh Binh’s Cuc Phuong National Park as Asia’s Leading National Park.
Difficulties are forecast to remain in 2022 due to the appearance of new variants of SARS-CoV-2. However, the VNAT still set targets of serving 65 million tourists, including 5 million foreigners, and earning 400 trillion VND (17.57 billion USD) from tourism services this year.
Ho Chi Minh City and the central province of Binh Dinh have received approval from the Government to reopen to foreign visitors this month, the sixth and seven localities to do so.