Vietnam travel welcomes about 400,000 Japanese tourists annually. In 2010, Japan was among three leading countries in the number of tourists to Vietnam. It is estimated that in 2011, the country will see an increase of 15-20 percent of tourists compared to in 2010. However, the double disaster of tsunami and earthquake has made negative influence on the number of Japanese tourists to Vietnam. From the same months of last years, the number of tourists from this market decreased about 40 percent.
Japan has started recovering from the disaster. Apart from overcoming serious consequences of the disaster, the Japanese government has applied many methods to promote tourism development and lure tourists with attractive policies.
Aware of the situation, many travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City has started doing surveys on destinations and services in Japan, especially radioactive levels to kickoff tours to this country which have been halted during and after the disaster. The tariff of the tours to Japan is lowered by VND10 million per person.
Bui Nguyen Tam Dang, the director of the Vietravel Outbound Department, said that despite serious effects of the tsunami and earthquake, Japan remains a potential tourism market which can recover sharply. According to tourism experts, Japanese tourism market will completely recover by the third quarter of 2011.
Large travel agents such as Saigontourist, TST Tourists, Cho Lon Tourist and Vietravel have launched new tours to Japan with attractive price and sales promotion programs. Saigontourist has worked with Vietnam Airlines to introduce the six day tour Ho Chi Minh City - Osaka - Kyoto - Tokyo which starts on June 30 at a price of VND41.3 million per person and seven day tour Hanoi - Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka beginning on July 7 at a price of VND37.86 million per person. Those tours is VND10 million cheaper than similar tours to Japan.
Vietravel has taken initiative to increase the number of tourists to Japan after being interrupted by the disaster. In early June, a representative of the company went to Japan to survey service situation. Vietravel said that in April, May and June, 2011, the company welcomed 700 Japanese tourists who came to Vietnam by charter flights. This is the largest Japanese group to Vietnam after the tsunami and earthquake. This group has given an optimistic signal from Japanese market for Vietnam tour. The group will visit Vietnam and Cambodia. In Vietnam, they will stay in some provinces in the Mekong (Cuu Long) Delta to experience unique daily lifestyle in the southwest region.
Apart from Vietname travel agents, tourism companies in Japan have made enormous efforts to resume tourism relations between the two countries, contributing to tourism development in the two countries. Akito Tadokoro, the director of regional sales for Asia Tourist Promotion Department of Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that after the disaster, Japan has seen a decline in the number of tourists to the country. However, there are some signals of recovery. Japanese tourism sector has enhanced advertisement programs to attract tourists to the country. At present, Japan is very safe to tourists. The bureau will have sales promotion programs to attract tourists.
According to the General Statistics Office, in the first five months of this year, there were 204,200 Japanese tourists to Vietnam, an increase of 12 percent from the same months of last year. In May alone, the number of those tourists increased 3,000 compared to the previous month. This figure expressed a recovery in tourism relations between the two countries.