The number of Vietnamese visiting Japan has increased due to incentives to expand bilateral tourism, VGP News quoted Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh as saying.

In 2013, Japan welcomed about 85,000 Vietnamese visitors, 55 percent higher than in 2012, while the number of Japanese tourists to Vietnam reached a record high of over 600,000.

Additionally, the first half of this year continued to witness rising numbers of Vietnamese tourists heading to Japan, Binh said, adding that approximately 63,000 Vietnamese travelled to Japan from January to June, up 50 percent year-on-year.

General Director of Viet Media Travel Corp Tran Van Long told VGP News that, in recent years, Japan also launched a number of campaigns to expand its market in Southeast Asian countries by simplifying visa procedures.

Further, Long said large increases in the number of Vietnamese visiting Japan was in part due to simplified visa procedures and closer co-operation among domestic tourism companies providing tours to Japan, resulting in competitive tourism packages.

Currently, a tour to Japan cost about 30 million VND (1,400 USD) per tourist, much less than the earlier price of 50-60 million VND (2,340-2,810 USD), he noted.

Long also predicted that Japan's proposal to waive visas for Vietnamese tourists beginning in September would attract large numbers of Vietnamese.

Meanwhile, The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reported that the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA) has formed a Japanese travel club in southern Vietnam with the aim of increasing the number of tourists travelling between the two nations in mid-August.

The club is expected to support travel operators, who hope to receive one million Japanese visitors to Vietnam, while sending 200,000 Vietnamese tourists to Japan in 2017.

Earlier, two similar clubs operated in Vietnam's northern and central regions.-VNA