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Vietnam sees 11% fall in int’l visitor arrivals

2009-12-30 (GMT + 7)

Vietnam is forecast to see an 11% decline in international tourist arrivals this year with the financial crisis and the H1N1 swine flu cited as the culprits, according to a report.

About 3.8 million foreign are forecast to come to the country this year, down by 450,000 from last year, shows the report by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The report says that despite the fall in foreign tourist arrivals, the tourism sector’s revenue is expected to grow 6.5% to 9% to VND68-70 trillion thanks to an upsurge in domestic traveler numbers.

The sector has served around 25 million local travelers this year, up to 19% year-on-year.

Vietnam has seen a higher decline in international visitor arrivals than other destinations in the Asia Pacific region. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) said in a statement issued this month that Asia Pacific destinations had incurred a 5% drop in international arrivals this year.

This means the region would receive 17 million fewer visitors this year than in 2008 when there were 377 million arrivals.

The association has a cautious view for next year. “The prospects for 2010 appear promising but it needs to be stressed that there is no quick fix for the travel and tourism industry,” said Kris Lim, associate director of PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre.

The VNAT report has an optimistic view about the development of the country’s tourism in 2010. The country could attract 4.5-4.6 million international visitors next year, up 18 to 21% from this year, and the number of domestic travelers is projected to reach 28 million in 2010.

Local tour operators told the Daily that foreign arrivals could recover next year with international visitor arrivals equal or slightly higher than the 2008 level.

“We’ve received some good news from markets like England, France and Italy in the high season of 2010. However, my company next year will not be able to do as good business as in 2008,” said Bui Viet Thuy Tien, managing director of Asian Trails Co., Ltd.

Ho Chi Minh City, the biggest tourism center of the country, said in a report that the city had received only 2.6 million foreign visitors this year, down by 200,000.

But the city’s department of Culture, Sport and Tourism is pinning hopes on next year, saying bookings by international tourists would improve. However, VNAT has forecast the number of foreign visitors to the city next year would reach 2.8 million, the same as in 2008.

Source: VietNamNet/SGT

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