Boats carying tourists on a river in the Trang An eco-tourism complex in northern Ninh Binh province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Incentives and overseas tourism promotion campaigns have proved effective as seen in the growing number of foreign visitors to Vietnam recently, industry insiders said.

Vietnam welcomed 732,740 foreign arrivals in November, rising by 12.9 percent month on month and 20.4 percent year on year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

More than 7 million foreigners visited the country so far this year, down 2 percent from a year earlier.

During the 11 months ending in November, the highest surge (35.5 percent) was seen in the number of Hong Kong tourists, followed by those from the Republic of Korea (30.5 percent), Singapore (16.5 percent) and China’s Taiwan (12 percent).

More visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have spent their holidays in Vietnam as a result of the visa exemption for citizens from these five European countries. The number of Spanish tourists rose by 10.7 percent while the figures for Germany and the UK showed increases of 4.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, 43.7 percent fewer Cambodian tourists visited Vietnam compared to the 11-month period of 2014. Decreases of 18.4 percent and 17.9 percent were also reported in the numbers of Lao and Thai visitors, respectively, the GSO added.

Specialists and travel agencies attributed the encouraging outcome in the tourism industry to the ongoing peak foreign tourist season, which will last through early 2016, along with visa exemptions for holiday makers from the five abovementioned European nations.

A recovery in the numbers of Chinese and Russian travellers since September has also augmented the overall foreign arrivals since these two countries, especially China, are major markets of Vietnam’s tourism sector.

The recent decision on visa exemptions for overseas Vietnamese is expected to attract more foreigners of Vietnamese origin, especially those in Europe and America.

At the same time, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has bolstered overseas promotion campaigns. Since late last month, a 30-second video clip on Vietnam produced by VNAT with the collaboration of international experts has been broadcast on the UK’s Travel Channel. The clip will be aired 300 times over three months, in the hope of drawing more visitors from the UK – a key tourism market of Vietnam.

The GSO also revealed that 53.8 Vietnamese people chose domestic locations as their travel destinations in the first 11 months. The tourism industry earned 312.93 trillion VND (13.9 billion USD) in revenue during that time, up 5.2 percent from a year before.-VNA