Vietnam’s Tourism Growing

There are about 6.014.032 foreign visitor came Vietnam in 2011.

Vietnam received about four million foreign visitors for 2007.  Vietnam only had 250,000 international visitors in 1990 but now aims to attract six million by 2010.

The country of mainly a backpackers’ destination in the 1990s has improved its airline capacity and buillt new hotels and resorts, as it seeks to catch up as a mainstream destination with countries such as Thailand (Thailand received about 9.59 million foreign tourists in the first eight months of 2007)

In Vietnam, the number of international arrivals is forecast to reach 4.3 million in 2007, or 700,000 more than 2006 according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).  Visitors from China made up the largest group, with 515,000 arrivals in 11 months, followed by arrivals from South Korea, the United States, Japan, Australia, France, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore.  With this year’s rise in international arrivals, the tourism industry expects earnings to increase to US$3.5 billion from last year’s $2.85 billion.

HCMC Plans More Investment to Spur Tourism Growth

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have decided to pour more investment into fundamental infrastructure to accelerate the growth of the tourism sector in the 2010-2020 period to 20% from 12.3% in the 2007-2010 period, the local top tourism official said to Saigon Times recently.  Director of the municipal Tourism Department Dong Thi Kim Vui informed that the investment for the coming years will focus on key infrastructure like the hotel network and tourist attractions.

However, Ms. Dong foresaw that the city’s tourism would not develop strongly if HCMC lacks infrastructure.  For the hotel network, she said the department would combine with the HCMC Institute for Economic Research and the Department of Planning and Investment to devise a road map for hotel development until 2020.  The map will give investors a clear view about the trend of hotel development in the city in the years to come, including a list of projects calling for investment.

Currently Vietnam is facing a critical shortage of hotel rooms and other basic infrastructure facilities for tourism due to the lack of a transparent policies and an inadequate development scheme for the sector in the past years.  HCMC has some 22,000 hotel rooms, including some 3,600 of five-star standard, 1,300 four-star rooms, 1,600 three-star rooms, and 3,400 two-star rooms. The department estimates that the city will lack some 14,500 standard rooms by 2010 including 7,000 rooms of three- to five-star ratings.  The number of hotel rooms in the city accounts for around 10% of the country’s total. But HCMC is lacking three- to five-star rooms that are most used by international and business guests, and also lacking a good strategy to catch up with the development.
In the 2007-2010 tourism development plan, which was approved by the municipal government in June, the tourism industry expects to earn more than US$2.15bil in revenue by 2010.  International tourist arrivals will increase by more than 12.3% a year to more than 3.6mil in 2010. The number of domestic tourists will have increased 15% a year to six million in the same year, according to the plan.

HCMC welcomed 240,000 tourists in November 2007, up 16% year-on-year, taking the total number of international visitors during the January-October period to 2.14mil. The total tourism revenue in the period amounted to over VND17.2tril (US$1.07bil), up 32% year-on-year.

More planes for Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines announced that it had signed a deal to buy 12 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, with the first to be delivered in 2015. The agreement was signed during a visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to New York.  The Airlines plans to modernise its fleet of 45 aircraft — a mix of Boeing, Airbus, ATR and Fokker planes — to compete against foreign carriers and new budget airlines.  Vietnam Airlines now operates 45 aircraft: ten Boeing 777, ten Airbus A320, ten A321, three A330, ten French-made ATR-72 and two Fokker-70. It was already due to receive five more A321 next year and four Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners from 2009.
Vietnam Airlines also has a plan to fly direct to Los Angeles from Ho Chi Minh city five times per week by the end of 2008. It does not currently fly direct to the US.

Low-cost airline expands to Vietnam

According to Bankok Post newspaper, AirAsia (AA), Southeast Asia’s largest low-cost carrier, is moving to branch out into Vietnam and the Philippines with the creation of sister airlines in those countries.

The airline was launched five years ago and has carried over 40 million passengers over 86 routes across 11 countries.  Recently AA has signed a letter of intent with the Vietnam shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin), a state-owned agency. The deal would see the establishment of a low-cost carrier (LCC) in Vietnam in the form of a joint venture like those in Thailand and Indonesia established more than three years ago.

However, the plan to set up the airline, tentatively known as Vina AirAsia, to operate both domestic and internationally, is facing opposition from two existing operators — Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines. Current Vietnamese regulations restrict access of the two airlines.  Only Vietnam Airlines is allowed to operate internationally and Vietnamese authorities have not yet shown any sign to change that. The present maximum foreign ownership in an airline in Vietnam is 30%.

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