ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
International visitor numbers up in July
Viet Nam's international arrival numbers rose again in July after falling for two consecutive months, to set a 4.6 per cent month-on-month increase, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported the day before yesterday.
Nearly 565,000 foreign tourists arrived in the country in July, bringing the total number of arrivals in the first seven months to about 4.85 million, equivalent to a 15.6 per cent rise year over year.
From January to July, the number of tourists coming for leisure and entertainment purposes rose by 13.9 per cent; those coming for business increased by 16.1 per cent; the number of those visiting relatives was up 19.5 per cent; and the number of visitors coming for other purposes leapt 21.1 per cent year on year.
The number of tourist arrivals from Hong Kong saw a 111.3 per cent rise, followed by Russia (27 per cent), Laos (26.7 per cent) and China (26 per cent).
The country expects to receive about 8 million to 8.2 million foreign visitors and serve 37.5 million domestic tourists this year, generating about VND240 trillion (US$113 billion).
Foreign visitors spent an average of nine days in Viet Nam. They also contributed a relatively large amount of foreign currency to the economy, spending an average of $1,002 per arrival last year, much higher than in 2005 when the average spending was $661 per arrival.
Tourists spent the maximum amount on accommodation, which accounted for 27 per cent of the total expenditure, followed by food (20 per cent), travel (17 per cent) and shopping (15 per cent).
Japanese tourists spent the maximum amount of $167 per day per person. They were followed by tourists from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.
The country earned $6.83 billion last year from tourist spending, equivalent to 70 per cent of the overseas national currency exchange.
In an attempt to attract more foreigners to Viet Nam and provide them with better services during their stay here, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed extension of the duration of visa exemption for Russian tourists from 15 days to 30 days.
The ministry said on July 24 that it has sent the proposal to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and plans to submit the same request regarding tourists from countries that have unilaterally practiced visa exemption for Vietnamese tourists.
Viet Nam is also applying the 30-day visa exemption for citizens from nine of the 10 ASEAN member nations.
Citizens from seven other nations also benefit from the 15-day visa exemption, namely Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Russia.
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