Ho Chi Minh City organised a ceremony to welcome the first foreign tourists of 2014 at Tan Son Nhat Airport on January 1.

The first 180 foreign tourists, flying in from Hong Kong, were from Hong Kong, the US and some European countries.

La Quoc Khanh, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the event opens a series of cultural and sports events in the city, aiming at spreading the image of the city and its people in 2014.

This year, the city’s tourism sector is set to receive 4.4 million foreign tourists, up 7 percent against 2013 and account for 55 percent of total international visitors to Vietnam.

It is expected to rake in 94 trillion VND (4.4 billion USD), equivalent to 43 percent of the country’s total turnover and a 15 percent higher than last year.

In 2013, foreign arrivals to HCM City is estimated at 4.1 million, increasing 8.1 percent over 2012 and reached 100.2 percent of the set target.

Total tourism turnover valued at almost 82 trillion VND (3.8 billion USD), accounting for 43 percent of the country’s figure.-VNA