Foreign tourists come to Vietnam in increasing numbers

Ha Noi, Nov. 25 (VNA) -- Viet Nam's tourism industry is set to enjoy an increase of 17 percent in foreign arrivals to 2.5 million this year, and a 6 percent rise in domestic holiday-makers to 11 million.

Improved tourist services and state policies are expected to lift revenue to more than USD 1 billion this year, wrote Pham Tu, Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Tourism Administration for Nhan Dan daily on Nov. 23.

A State tourism steering board has been set up, with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam as Chairman and involving a number of ministries and organisations. This will help the industry smoothly resolve problems in different areas.

The Viet Nam Tourism Administration (VTA) has signed visa-exemption agreement with Thailand and the Philippines that allow their citizens to visit Viet Nam for 30 days without needing to apply for an entry visa, while Chinese may use tourist cards to visit the capital city of Ha Noi.
Tourists can also now enjoy a single-price policy on beauty-spot sight-seeing as well as on visits to the sites of historic and cultural relics.

A number of international air-routes have been restored or opened, such as links from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap in Cambodia, to Tokyo in Japan and to Seoul in the Republic of Korea, and the route from Da Nang central coastal city to Bangkok in Thailand.

VTA has managed to reach distant markets, including the United States, France, Britain and Germany alongside regional ones such as Japan, China and Australia.

Restored traditional cultural festivals have also helped attract more and more foreign tourists.

New domestic routes of tourist interest have been opened to exploit the advantages of different areas such as the UNESCO-awarded World Heritage Sites route that includes the former imperial city of Hue in Thua Thien Hue province, and the ancient port town of Hoi An and the Champa ancient capital of My Son in Quang Nam province.

With all these achievements, Viet Nam's tourism is expected to reach its target of between 3 and 4 million foreign tourists per year by 2005 and between 6 and 7 million by 2010, earning annual revenue of between USD 2 and 3 billion.--VNA