The number of foreign arrivals to Vietnam in March is estimated at 709,700, down 15.7 percent compared to last month but up 20.8 percent against the same month of 2013.

The figure raised the total number of international visitors to the country in the first quarter of this year to over 2.3 million, a year-on-year rise of 29.3 percent, according to the General Statistic Office (GSO).

Germany , Russia , China , Cambodia and Spain topped the list of markets that saw increases in the number of tourists to Vietnam .

Vietnam ’s tourism sector plans to receive 8 million international tourists, serve 37.5 million domestic tourists and earn 230 billion VND (10.8 million USD) this year.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has devised a plan for 2014, based on the strategy and the master plan on developing tourism to 2020, with a vision to 2030 and the national action plan on tourism for the 2013-2020 period.

It will focus on improving tourism products and service quality, addressing the sector’s shortcomings and organising successfully the National Tourism Year 2014 in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong and other regional provinces, as well as preparing for the National Tourism Year 2015 in central Thanh Hoa province.

In 2013, Vietnam received 7,572,352 international tourists, a 10.6 percent rise over 2012, bringing 200 trillion VND (9.4 billion USD) for the state coffer.

Most of international markets saw increases: Russia (71.1 percent), China (33.5 percent), Thailand (19.3 percent), New Zealand (16.3 percent), Indonesia (15.7 percent), Belgium (14.1 percent), and Malaysia (13.5 percent).-VNA