The MCST said that its original target was 4.2 million foreign visitors in 2010, increasing 10 per cent year-on-year.
“Vietnam can now receive up to eight million foreign tourists per year with its current tourist-oriented service and facility systems, which we have already invested VND20 trillion ($1.05 billion) into,” Anh said.
The MCST’s Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) reported that the total number of foreign tourists to Vietnam in October 2010 soared 99.3 per cent against a year earlier to over 440,000, raising the total figure to nearly 4.2 million visitors in the year’s first 10 months, up 39 per cent on-year.
Many of Vietnam’s key tourism markets have expanded very fast, such as Cambodia with 97.2 per cent, China 90.3 per cent, Thailand 41.1 per cent, Korea 36.2 per cent, Japan 22.2 per cent, France 15.4 per cent and the US 7 per cent.
Notably, during the Hanoi’s Millennium Celebration from October 1 to 10, the capital city welcomed about 1.2 million domestic visitors and over 30,000 international arrivals.
Anh ascribed the augmented number of foreign tourists to the sector’s tourism promotion programmes, and especially to Vietnam’s key foreign markets such as France, the US, China, South Korea, Japan and ASEAN countries.
However, VNAT head Nguyen Van Tuan offered words of caution.
“I think this growth may see a halt or even drop in the next few years, when Vietnam will have less special anniversaries and cultural events,” Tuan said.
Moreover, the political unrest in Thailand earlier this year prompted many visitors from western Europe and North America to shift their holiday destinations to other countries, including Vietnam, he said.
In 2009, Vitenam received over 3.8 million turns of foreign tourists, down 11.5 per cent on-year, and 25 million domestic tourists, up 19 per cent from 2008. The sector’s total revenue was VND70 trillion ($3.68 billion).
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