HCM City eyes 7.5 million foreign visitors in 2018 hinh anh 1Ben Thanh market (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - The southern largest hub of Ho Chi Minh City hopes to receive 7.5 million international visitors next year, a year-on-year increase of 25 percent.

The number of domestic arrivals is expected to rise by a more modest 15 percent to 29 million, said Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the city’s Department of Tourism.

The tourism sector would focus on efforts to develop cultural and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) tourism, he told a press meeting on December 28.

It plans to diversify its products and organise a series of tourism events through the year to attract visitors, he said.

It will devise marketing strategies and organise promotional activities broad to attract potential international tourists.

The marketing and promotional activities will focus on markets such as Thailand, India, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the US, which have recorded strong growth this year.

It will also address lingering problems that drive foreign tourists away, such as overcharging, street vendors and taxi drivers’ poor attitude.

The department will work with the city's Tourism Association to welcome the first international and domestic tourists of 2018 at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on January 1.

This year the city saw more than 6.3 million international arrivals, 1 million higher than last year.

China was the biggest source of visitors, followed by the Republic of Korea, Japan, the US, Taiwan and Russia.

The number of domestic tourists visiting the city numbered nearly 25 million, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percent.

Tourism revenues are estimated at nearly 116 trillion VND (5.1 billion USD).

The HCM City Tourism Association on December 29 kicked off the domestic tourism stimulus programme for 2018.

It has signed agreements with Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, and Saigon Railway Transport Joint Stock Company to offer domestic tour packages by air and rail with discounts of up to 70 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Next year tour packages offered under the programme will focus on three central provinces, namely Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, said Tran Hung Viet, chairman of the association.

More than 353,800 air tickets were sold this year under the programme, 160 percent higher than last year.

A total of 38,140 train tickets were also sold compared to 13,000 in 2016.

Most of the package tours were from HCM City to Phu Quoc Island and Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue, and Quy Nhon cities.-VNA