VIETNAM is doing its best to cope with a sudden increase in the number of Chinese visitors with as many as 1.2 million having flocked in during the first half of this year compared to a total 5.5 million foreign visitors during the first seven months, Viet Nam News said recently.
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Director General Nguyen Van Tuan said during the recent half-year review meeting that Chinese tourist arrivals “soared out of the blue,” with the total rising 47.5% over the same period last year.
“The thing is that Vietnam tourism industry’s capabilities in terms of both personnel and services failed to adapt to such a sudden growth (of Chinese tourists),” Mr Tuan said.
“Worse still, Chinese visitors do not spread evenly across the country but only focus on some tourism sites, particularly Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province and Danang.”
Meanwhile Voice of America (VOA) also reported recently that officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s financial hub in the south, are moving to impose heavy fines on Chinese tourists who “disrespect Vietnam’s culture and history” and are also issuing Mandarin-language dos and don’ts for their benefit.
This step is being taken after a video footage of Chinese visitors harassing a banana hawker in Danang spread online and fueled nationalist sentiments which has been soaring after the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against Beijing’s territorial claims in the disputed maritime region, to which Hanoi is a claimant, VOA added.
However these problems do not seem to deter international visitors from holidaying in this country as can be seen by altogether 5.5 million arrivals in the first seven months of this year being a 24% year-on-year increase.
The number of tourists from European countries who are allowed visa-free entry into Vietnam also jumped in this period with those from Italy, Spain and Britain having risen by 30.4%, 24.2% and 23.4%, respectively.
Just in July, foreign tourist arrivals totaled 800,000 people, a 41.2% year-on-year increase.
Meanwhile at the recent 16th annual Vietnam Tourism Awards ceremony HG Travel was recognized as one of the country’s “leading inbound tour operators.”
Ms Nguyen Thi Tuyet, managing director of HG Travel Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) said that her company currently handles 50,000 inbound tour arrivals from regional and global source markets and has a strategic Asia-wide rollout plan over the next 12 months.
TOP: Western tourists visiting Cham Museum in Danang. Photo Bruce Tuten
INSET: Korean tourists having fun at Danang beach recently. Photo: Paul Arps
By Thai Residents reporters