International visitor arrivals to Vietnam have fallen for a fourth consecutive month, as Chinese travellers continue to stay away from the country.
According to the latest data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the Southeast Asian country welcomed 590,881 overseas visitors in September 2014 – 3.9% fewer than the same month last year. This followed a year-on-year drop of 8.6% in August, a 14.2% decline in July and a 4.9% fall in June 2014.
And this decline has been driven by a slump in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Vietnam, amid ongoing tensions between the two countries over the Paracel Islands.
China is by far Vietnam’s largest visitor source market, but arrivals from the mainland fell 12.3% in September 2014, to 148,895. And the number of visitors from Taiwan has also continued to fall, dropping 9.6% last month to 29,154.
Other key source markets continued to rise however, including South Korea (+19.4% to 68,983), Japan (+7.1% to 61,079) and Russia (+44.7% to 24,209). Key long-haul markets including the US (+0.1% to 29,159), Australia (-0.8% to 24,345) and France (-0.4% to 11,286) remained largely unchanged.
But despite the recent downturn in arrivals, Vietnam remains on track to achieve full-year growth. For the first nine months of 2014, arrivals to the country have now increased 10.4% to 6.06 million.