Update: 09:11 | 03/05/2018
South Korean visitor number jumped a massive 67 percent in the first four months of the year.
Foreign travelers pose for a photo on Nguyen Hue walking street in downtown Saigon. Photo by Nguyen Quy.
More than 5.5 million foreign visitors arrived in Vietnam in the first four months of this year,
The sharp rise has been attributed to international tourists touching down in the country for their summer breaks during a festive season filled with cultural and tourism events stretching from north to south.
The number of tourists from Asian countries rose by 36 percent against the same period last year to 4.16 million.
China maintained its status as the main source of foreign visitors with nearly 1.77 million arrivals between January and April, surging 39.7 percent year-on-year.
South Korea recorded impressive growth of 67 percent with a record high of 1.17 million.
Most visitors arrived by air, accounting for over 80 percent of the total.
Vietnam is in the midst of a tourism boom, with 12.9 million foreign visitors arriving in 2017, a rise of 29.1 percent against the previous year.
A report published in June by the United Nations World Tourism Organization ranked Vietnam’s tourism growth at seventh globally, and the country was the only destination in Southeast Asia to make the top 10.
The results appear to bode well for Vietnam’s growth, especially now that the government has given the green light for tourism to drive its economy.
Vietnam has set a target of receiving 15-17 million foreign arrivals this year.
In a bid to give the tourism industry a major push, the Vietnamese government has launched a much-touted online visa system for travelers on short holidays or casual business trips.
Tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product by 2020 when the country is planning to welcome up to 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenue.
Vietnam has set a target of receiving 15-17 million foreign arrivals this year. However, that number is still moderate compared to neighboring Thailand, where the government is targeting 37 million visitors in 2018.