Vietnam achieved a record number of international visitor arrivals in 2014, despite a slump in the second half of the year.
According to the latest data published by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), a total of 7.87 million overseas visitors travelled to the country last year – 4.0% more than the 7.57m received in 2013.
But the 2014 figures were dragged down by a decline in visitor numbers in the second half of the year. From July to December 2014, Vietnam saw a 10.7% decline in international arrivals. And the country actually experienced seven consecutive months of year-on-year declines from June 2014 to the end of the year.
This was mainly driven by a sharp fall in arrivals from mainland China – Vietnam’s largest source market – in the wake of the anti-Chinese protests that hit Vietnam in May and June. From July to December 2014, the number of Chinese visitors to Vietnam plunged 24.7%.
Despite this however, mainland China remains by far the biggest contributor of visitors to Vietnam, with 1.95m, or 24.7% of the annual total.
South Korea (+13.3% to 847,958 visitors), Japan (+7.3% to 647,956), the USA (+2.7% to 443,776) and Taiwan (-2.5% to 388,998) were the country’s other largest markets in 2014. Arrivals from Russia – Vietnam’s largest European source market – continued to perform well, rising 22.4% to 364,873.
The strongest growth annual growth however, was seen from Germany (+45.7%), Hong Kong (+42.7%) and Spain (+22.7%), albeit from lower base levels.
Vietnam is now hoping to boost its tourism sector in 2015, which has been designed the country’s ‘National Tourism Year’. A new tourism logo has been introduced, featuring Vietnam’s famous conical hats, and the theme ‘Connecting World Heritage’ will aim to focus on the country’s UNESCO sites, including Halong Bay.