Vietnam News

Access to major markets restricted, Vietnam struggles with tourist numbers

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With major feeder markets like China and Japan still imposing strict entry restrictions, the number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam has remained relatively low.

Therefore, the tourism industry is seeking different ways to attract more foreigners into the country, deputy tourism ministry Doan Van Viet said at a government meeting Monday.

He acknowledged that the number of foreign arrivals has remained relatively low after Vietnam allowed quarantine-free travel from March 15.

In March, Vietnam welcomed 15,000 foreign tourists, 10 times higher than the previous month, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Viet said that travel firms need more time to connect with foreign clients after the disruption of tourism activities over the last two years.

“The peak travel season for international tourists will last from October to April next year, as usual. We expect the number of foreign visitors to rise in the coming days,” he said, as cited by the government news portal.

Attracting more foreign visitors at this time will be a difficult task because Northeast Asia accounts for 70 percent of Vietnam’s total foreign tourist arrivals, he noted.

China, Vietnam’s biggest tourism market with 5.8 million arrivals in 2019, is still pursuing a zero-Covid policy with lockdown measures and strict entry restrictions; while Japan, Vietnam’s third largest tourism market, is imposing quarantine regulations on visitors or those returning from abroad.

In addition, the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has directly affected some localities that have specialized in serving Russian tourists like Khanh Hoa, home to the beach and bay towns of Nha Trang and Cam Ranh, Viet said.

Vietnam Airlines has suspended its regular flight between Hanoi and Moscow starting March 28 and some Vietnamese tour operators have temporarily suspended bringing Russian tourists to Vietnam as a result of Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

Viet said the tourism industry should promote visa, medical and immigration policies and work with Vietnamese diplomatic missions abroad so that international visitors are more aware of Vietnam’s tourism reopening policies.

Travel firms should also seek opportunities to promote Vietnam in major tourism markers and offer promotional programs to attract visitors from these countries and territories, he said.

Vietnam has done well in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic, and “then we need a more open policy on medical quarantine so that foreign tourists can feel secure when coming to Vietnam,” Viet said.

Starting March 15, Vietnam has reopened its borders to foreign tourists and resumed its pre-pandemic visa exemption policy for citizens from 24 countries, including Japan, South Korea and European economies.

Foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate.

In 2019, before the onset of Covid-19, Vietnam had received a record 18 million foreign tourists.

The target this year is to welcome five to six million foreign tourists.

By Hoang Phong – VnExpress.net – April 6, 2022 

Access to major markets restricted, Vietnam struggles with tourist numbers
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