International holiday-makers visit Hue city. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – More than 805,000 visits were made to Vietnam by international tourists in January, a 5.8 percent increase from last month and 12.3 percent surge from the same month last year, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

According to the latest statistics, strong growth was recorded in Vietnam’s tourism sector’s key markets, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (Rok), Russia, Taiwan and the US.

During the month, Vietnam welcomed 149,330 holiday-makers from the RoK, rising 28.2 percent from the same period in 2015. Despite economic difficulties, the number of Russian tourists to Vietnam also hiked up 23.7 percent from January last year. They are in favour of resort tourism and always splash out a large amount of money during their long stay in Vietnam.

In addition, Vietnam also enjoyed steady growth from the European market thanks to its visa-exemption policy that took effect from July 1. The number of Italian visitors to Vietnam rose 28.8 percent from January, 2015, the sharpest rise in the market, followed by the UK (20.6 percent), Germany (16 percent), Spain (14.3 percent) and France (9.9 percent).

The tourism sector witnessed a drop in the number of Cambodian tourist arrivals while noticing a considerable growth from the Malaysian, Thai and Singaporean markets.

Vietnam’s larger travel agencies have achieved impressive results from the outset of the year. Particularly, Saigontourist has served more than 32,000 domestic and foreign tourists. The company arranged tours for vacationers from the EU, the US and Asia to discover the country’s famous landscape, cultural-historic sites and traditional cuisine.

This year, VNAT targets to rake in 370 trillion VND (16.65 billion USD) from serving 8.5 million foreign visitors and 60 million domestic tourists. VNAT General Director Nguyen Van Tuan said that tourism is expected to grow at two digits in quarter I.

The sector is making concerted efforts to renovate and enhance efficiency, as well as professionalism in promotion activities. The sector set up and popularised a plan to promote tourism in 2016 accross localities and businesses from the beginning of the year. It also encouraged localities to attend some tourism fairs such as Beijing’s International Tourism Expo (BITE), JATA tourism expo in Japan and International French Travel Market Top Resa.

In the framework of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Manila, the Philippines from January 18-25, VNAT and tourism localities and enterprises took part in a two-day international tourism fair TRAVEX. Numerous partners from the EU showed their interests in Vietnamese tourism products, especially luxury travel and culture-nature discovery travel.

During the forum, VNAT held a press conference to introduce Vietnam’s major tourism products and events in 2016, including Tourism Year 2016, Hue Festival and the 5th Asian Beach Games.-VNA