Vietnam this year will likely receive a record number of foreign tourists and foreign-currency turnover, according to a report from the General Statistics Office.

The country welcomed nearly 2.5 million foreign visitors in the first four months of the year.

If this number of foreign visitors continues for the rest of the year, the country will receive more than seven million foreigners, a record number.

Last year, more than 6 million foreigners visited the country, and the domestic tourism industry earned more than 934 USD from each foreign visitor.

Based on this figure, the industry is expected to earn more than 6.5 billion USD this year.

The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam with work purposes has the highest growth rate, 26.7 percent, of all categories, including tourists and visitors who came to see their relatives.

About 1.3 million foreigners are expected to visit Vietnam for work purposes by year-end, experts have estimated.

Independent market watchdogs noted that this is an encouraging sign because it shows that many foreign investors are seeking investment opportunities here, particularly as prices have dropped sharply in securities and real estate markets.

The country has also further penetrated the world market through the implementation of more trade commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation.

The number of tourists to Vietnam on cruise ships is also on the rise, with an increase of 67 percent in April and 40 percent in the first four months of the year.

In the four-month period, the number of tourists from mainland China is 513,200, up by 23.3 percent; the Republic of Korea, 276,600, up by 49.3 percent; Japan, 211,900, up 25.3 percent; Taiwan, 155,900, up 30.2 percent; Malaysia, 93,400, up 28.3 percent; and Russia, 74,700, up 50.9 percent.

However, experts said Vietnam's current ratio of seven foreign tourists to every 100 people is still low, compared with rates of many countries, despite the many advantages that the country has compared to others.

They urged drastic improvements in tourism laws and regulations, as well as protection and preservation of landscapes and historical relics.-VNA