Vietnam closes 2017 on a strong note

HANOI, 16 January 2018: Vietnam’s tourist arrivals  reached 12,922,151 in 2017, an increase of 29.1% when compared with 2016, according to provisional figures released by the Vietnam National Tourism Administration late last week.

In December alone, data sourced from the Government Statistics Office estimated the country welcomed  1,276,353 tourists, up 8.9% over November and 42.2% over December last year.

Over 9 million visitors in 2017 were sourced from Asia, scoring a remarkable 34.4% increase over 2016. The lion’s share came from China at 4,008,253 visits, up 48.6% on the previous year.

Vietnam’s tourism relies heavily on the big four of northern Asia; China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Korea delivered 2,413,245 visits up 56.4% and Japan 798,119, up 7.8%. When you include Taiwan at 616,232 visits, up 21.5%  over 2016, northern Asia accounts for the bulk of arrivals out of Asia.

Vietnam needs to address the imbalance by promoting heavily in Southeast Asia (ASEAN). Member countries of ASEAN enjoy visa-free travel to Vietnam, which is a positive for last-minute bookers who travel frequently to neighbouring countries for short breaks.

The USA is also a strong source market with 614,117 visits up 11% on 2016’s performance. So is Russia, a traditional market that is making a recovery after two years in the doldrums. Russia supplied 574,164 visits, up 32.3%.

The rest of Europe are in the also-ran class with the exception of France (255,239 up 20%), the UK (283,537 up 11.3% and Germany (199,872 up 13.6%).

The impact of improved airline services, some by Middle East airlines with one stop and other direct services to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, should improve arrivals from Europe as will a further extension of visa-free travel when the current scheme expires.

(Source: VNAT, GSO)