International tourists down nearly 50 percent hinh anh 1Boats carry tourists to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Tam Coc - Bich Dong, a famous destination in Ninh Binh province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a 48.8 percent decline in the number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam in the first five months of the year, with the total standing at 3.73 million.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on May 29 that 72.9 percent of foreign tourists in the period were from Asia, with numbers from the region down 51.4 percent year-on-year.

Falls were seen in almost all major markets, such as China (down 57.2 percent), Malaysia (53.9 percent), the Republic of Korea (53.4 percent), Japan (48.2 percent), France (47.5 percent), the UK (44.3 percent), and Russia (23.2 percent).

Conversely, the number of Cambodian tourists surged 118.3 percent.

Revenue from tourism services in the period was estimated at 8.3 trillion VND (359 million USD), down 54.1 percent. Localities seeing significant declines in revenue include the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau (72.9 percent), south-central Khanh Hoa province (68.2 percent), HCM City (66.1 percent), and northern Quang Ninh province (65.4 percent).

Vietnam has suspended granting visas to foreigners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Most foreign visitors currently in the country are experts and technicians.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched the “Vietnamese people travel in Vietnam” programme in early May to stimulate domestic tourism./.