Hanoi - Tourists travel to Vietnam rose 35 per cent in the first eight months of 2010 over the same period last year, government officials said Wednesday, crediting the global economic recovery and the country's efforts to market itself as a holiday destination.
The rise signalled the recovery of one of Vietnam's largest industries, which was hit hard in 2009 by the global recession.
Nguyen Van Tuan, the director general of Vietnam's Tourism Administration (VNAT), said the country welcomed 3.3 million foreign visitors from January to August.
The administration had set a target of 4.2 million visitors this year but said the actual total might hit 5 million.
Turnover in the tourism sector reached 64 trillion dong (3.38 billion dollars), up 37 per cent compared with the same period last year.
"Foreign visitors are up partly thanks to the recovery of global tourism but also thanks to our efforts in tourism-promotion campaigns," administration deputy director Nguyen Manh Cuong said.
The campaigns include television advertisements on CNN, the BBC, Chinese national television and other networks as well as government-led efforts to cut hotel prices and airline fares.
Vietnam, once one of the fastest-growing tourist magnets in the region, last year attracted 3.8 million foreign visitors, down 11 per cent from 2008.
It was the first drop in several years and more than the average 5-per-cent fall across the Asia-Pacific region.
Some critics blamed the global financial crisis, but others blamed poor coordination between Vietnam's hotel, airline and packaged Vietnam tour industries.
(Source: The earthtimes. org)