The Director-General of the International Cooperation Department of Vietnam's National Administration of Tourism, Pham Quang Hung, said Malaysia was one of the top markets for the country's tourism industry for the past several years.
But this year, he expected Malaysia to top the list because of the numerous tourism, cultural and history-related events that they were organising, he told Bernama in a recent interview here.
Arrivals from Malaysia for January to March this year are estimated to hit 44,888, representing a growth of 114.3% compared with the corresponding period last year.
Pham said Hanoi was celebrating its 1,000th anniversary this year where a series of events had been arranged, and this was expected to attract more tourists, including from Malaysia.
He said arrivals from Malaysia dropped last year compared with 2008 (176,000), due to the impact of the global financial crisis.
However, because of the crisis, many people also decided to change the type of travelling, cutting down on long-haul travel and opting for short-haul travel to countries in this region such as Vietnam, he added.
He said Vietnam Travel was blessed with many tourism destinations such as Halong Bay that is made up of 1,969 islands of various sizes and recognised by Unesco as a natural heritage site of worldwide importance.
Tourism contributed some US$3.58bil to Vietnam's economy in 2008 and the figure reached US$3.78bil last year. Total tourist arrivals were about 3.78 million in 2009 and the target for this year is 4.2 million. - Bernama