Foreign arrivals to Vietnam have hit 760,800 in December 2015, rising 2.6% from the previous month and 15% from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said in a report.
This is the sixth consecutive month Vietnam has recorded a rise in the number of international visitors since July, a rebound after 13 consecutive months of fall.
The global tourism industry has been hard hit by a large number of hardships in 2015, ranging from economic turmoil to aviation accidents, and epidemics such as the SARS.
Ngo Minh Duc, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Huong Giang Travel Company, told the Saigon Times newspaper that the anemic recovery of the global economy and terrorist incidents in Europe have dampened traveling demand, especially far markets such as Europe and the U.S.
Although the Vietnamese government has loosened the visa
policy and cut visa fees, those measures are not sufficient to compete with incentives the neighboring countries, he said.
Earlier this year, the government unilaterally waived visa for citizens of the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, effective in one year starting July 1.
Business associations of Australia, the U.S., Japan and Korea have suggested the Vietnamese government to loosen its visa policy for businesspeople and tourists.
“We recommend the Ministry of Tourism, amongst other measures, to extend the number of countries with visa exemption, extend the exemption period and allow a return into Vietnam within 30 days if the passenger can show a departing flight within that period,” said Tomaso Andreatta, vice chairman of European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham
These new measures will increase Vietnam’s competitiveness, attract direct investment and international tourist flows in order to increase foreign currency income and create jobs that could contribute to 6.5%-7% of GDP by 2020, Mr. Andreatta said in a document prepared for the Vietnam Business Forum in Hanoi on December 1.