Vietnam’s tourism industry saw big success in 2010 with over five million foreign visitors, representing 36 per cent on-year growth.
It was also the first year the number of foreign visitors to the country surpassed five million against the year’s target of 4.2 million.
Significantly, a sharp rise in the number of visitors was recorded in most key markets.
Growth ranged between 20-40 per cent in the numbers of Thai, Japanese, South Korean, Australian and Malaysian visitors and hit 90 per cent in the Chinese visitors.
Vietnam welcomed around 900,000 Chinese visitors in 2010, representing around 20 per cent of total number of foreign visitors to Vietnam.
Besides foreign visitors, the number of local visitors also climbed strongly, reaching 28 million, up 15 per cent on year. Vietravel, Saigontourist, Hanoitourist, and Lua Viet saw an increase of 20-30 per cent in the number of visitors in 2010.
Head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s (VNAT) Travel Department Vu The Binh attributed the growth in foreign visitors’ number in 2010 to impressive tourism promotion programme ‘Impressive Vietnam’ launched in 2009, the Vietnamese government’s supportive policies and the tourism sector’s strenuous efforts.
However, Binh said the high impressive tourism growth in 2010 could hardly continue in 2011.
“More attention must be attached to local visitors in the current post-recession period as the revenue from local visitors currently makes up one fifth of the tourism sector’s total revenue only while the number of local visitors are six fold more than foreign ones,” Binh said.
Danang was one of locations attaching importance to luring in local visitors and reaped duty rewards for its efforts. In 2010, the city welcomed 1.4 million local visitors, jumping 37 per cent on-year and up 27 per cent on projection, according to head of Danang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Travel Division Tran Chi Cuong.
To raise the tourism sector’s profits industry specialists suggest the sector focus attention on high-end visitor segments.
Foreign visitors’ spending in Vietnam is considered low compared to that in other regional peers. VNAT statistics show that in Vietnam foreign visitors’ spending on shopping only makes up 20 per cent of their total expenses, while in Thailand this figure is 50-60 per cent.
Deputy head of Mekong Tourism Company Limited Nguyen Thi Minh Thu said making visitors spend their last penny was the prime target of every travel company.