Foreign tourists visit Hoa Lu ancient citadel relic site in Ninh Binh province (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The numbers of visitors from China, the largest market for Vietnam’s tourism sector, and the Republic of Korea, the second-largest, have increased dramatically in the past few years.

Meanwhile, those from Japan have only grown modestly in recent years despite a sharp increase in the number of international tourist arrivals, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Though the number of Japanese tourist arrivals last year was a record 800,000, it represented only an 8 percent increase from the previous year.

Last year the number of Chinese tourist arrivals rose by 48 percent to more than 4 million.

There were more than 2.4 million from the Republic of Korea, up 56.4 percent.

In the first five months of this year, the country welcomed more than 344,000 Japanese tourists, up 6 percent year-on-year, while the number from China and the Republic Korea totalled 2.1 million and 1.4 million, up 37 percent and 62 percent.

Tourism authorities attributed the modest growth to several issues such as the shortage of Japanese-speaking tour guides at popular tourist destinations and the absence of VNAT representative offices in Japan.

The VNAT plans to organise some marketing and promotion programmes in Japan this year to attract more tourists.

Last month the administration and the Japanese embassy in Hanoi organised a workshop on tourism cooperation between the two countries.

Next September, together with travel firms and provincial tourism promotion centres, it will organise road shows in Sapporo, Kanagawa, Fukuoka, and Osaka cities in Japan.-VNA