Vietnam enjoys record number of international tourists

December 04, 2023 | 15:33
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Vietnam welcomed over 1.2 million international tourists in November, the highest monthly number since the beginning of the year.

According to data released by the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism, so far this year the country has received a total of 11.2 million foreign arrivals, far higher than the full-year target of eight million visitors set at the beginning of this year and close to the expected goal of 12 million international visitors in 2023.

Vietnam enjoys record number of international tourists
Vietnam enjoys record number of international tourists

November also marked a new breakthrough in visa policies when visa-free markets grew strongly. Europe is the market with the best increase among the continents by nearly 60 per cent compared to October thanks to the contribution from markets that enjoy unilateral visa exemption policies with temporary residence periods of up to 45 days.

Meanwhile, some other key markets also recorded growth, including China at 9.6 per cent, Japan at 7.7 per cent, and the US at 18.7 per cent. Southeast Asian markets such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore achieved positive growth of around 20 per cent.

Bobby Nguyen, chairman of Rustic Hospitality, said that the year-end peak tourist season is starting, and so the increase in international visitors during this time is understandable. Therefore, setting a target number of visitors each year will create the necessary pressure for the tourism industry to grow, but increasing the quality of tourists and their spending ability is the most important factor.

“To develop sustainable tourism, it is necessary to increase quality,” he said. “It is time for the tourism industry to reconsider its approach and goal of increasing tourism’s contribution to GDP, instead of just seeking to increase the number of visitors.”

According to Nguyen, the proportion of foreign passengers on domestic flights in Vietnam is currently only about 15-20 per cent, much lower than the average of about half before the pandemic. The number of group tourists with high spending ability is small, and it is still mainly self-sufficient tourists with low costs.

“We cannot bring old thinking to tourism,” said Nguyen. “Tourists today are more interested in environmental factors and the preservation of cultural and community values. They are willing to pay more to experience sophisticated products.”

According to’s Travel Predictions for 2024, travellers will employ money saving hacks to cut costs, yet level up their vacations with à la carte luxuries from glam yachts to supercars. Almost 80 per cent of Vietnamese travellers are going to plan their travel budgets next year more tightly, to enjoy travel within their means, and as a result, travellers are seeking more bang for their buck without sacrificing on style.

“In a world where the cost of living keeps on climbing, the allure of travel remains unwavering,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Caesar Indra, president of Traveloka, commented that three trends that will shape Vietnam’s tourism industry in the coming year: tourism activities associated with music, sustainable tourism trends, and cultural experiences.

“Event tourism brings great opportunities to the tourism industry, attracting the majority of young tourists,” Indra said. “Vietnam is rapidly becoming a popular destination in Southeast Asia, with its rich cultural, historical and natural sights providing a plethora of experiences for travellers from around the world.”

Data from the Traveloka platform shows that Ho Chi Minh City has the potential to become a premier hotspot for those seeking a wide spectrum of activities in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Hanoi, Danang, and Phu Quoc are attracting increased interest among international visitors.

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One-third of international visitors to Vietnam in the first quarter were South Korean. With figures of more than 810,000, the country was the largest international tourist market over the period.

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By Oanh Do

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