HANOI - The number of international visitors arriving in Viet Nam during the first four months of this year dropped by 12.2 per cent from the same period last year to 2.69 million. This was derived from data furnished by the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.
Visitors arriving by air, made up for 83 per cent of the total international arrivals, and fell by 9 per cent over the same period last year, while arrivals by train and road dropped by a hefty 30 and 25 per cent, respectively.
In April alone, Viet Nam received more than 690 international visitors, rising by 11.7 per cent from the previous month, but dropped by 7.4 per cent over the same month last year.
The number of visitors from Asia to Viet Nam during the four-month period fell by 12.9 per cent from a year ago to 1.73 million, with a considerable decline in the number of visitors from China (down 33.2 per cent), Cambodia (down 28.1 per cent), Thailand (down 23.7 per cent), Laos (down 35.5 per cent) and Indonesia (down 21.6 per cent).
The number of visitors from Europe also slipped 8.4 per cent, especially from Russia, which dropped by 19.9 per cent.
However, during this period, Viet Nam saw a surge in the number of visitors from South Korea by 33.4 per cent and Finland, which jumped 27 per cent. Modest increases were also seen in several markets, including Spain, Singapore, Italy, the United States and Germany.
China and Korea were two markets, which had the highest number of visitors coming to Viet Nam, with more than 187,000 and 85,200 during the first four months, respectively, data showed.
The number of international visitors coming to Viet Nam had started falling at the beginning of this year after reaching a peak of 7.87 million in 2014, forcing the tourism sector to introduce measures to renovate and attract more tourists.
Experts said although the number of international visitors had dropped partly due to the impact of the global economic recession and the slump in several currencies, making trips more expensive, Viet Nam needed to improve its tourism and hospitality services and renovate tourism products.
According to the Deputy Ch airman of the Viet Nam Tourism Association (VAT), Vu The Binh, the tourism industry of Viet Nam lacked innovation, which hardly compelled tourists to return.
Tourism promotional activities also remained weak, Nguyen Cong Hoan, the deputy director of Ha Noi Red Tours, said. The expense budget allocated to tourism promotion in Viet Nam was only VND30 (S$1.8 million) to 40 billion a year, which was modest in comparison with the millions of dollars spent by Thailand or Malaysia.
In addition, there was a lack of co-ordination among promotional activities at the country and local levels and among localities.
Hoan said Viet Nam needed to formulate a long-term promotional strategy for the tourism industry to attract more international tourists, together with preparations in infrastructure, such as hotels and restaurants, along with enhanced service quality.