Local travel agencies are cannoning attention to new markets including Indonesia, India and Russia beside traditional ones such as the US, Europe, China and Japan as the former group is forecast to generate great numbers of visitors, the Saigon Times Daily reported.

Phan Dinh Hue, Director of Viet Circle Travel, said the company has turned to Indonesia and India since the beginning of this year with positive results. Partners from each of the nations have booked four or five trips for one month.

Similarly, some other travel firms said they can open short-term tours for Indonesian tourists thanks to affordable air fares and high frequency of flights between the two countries.

More and more local companies are now also seeking to tap India as a new market. They expect a surge in the number of Indian tourists when Vietnam Airlines launches direct air routes linking the two countries in the near future.

For the new markets, Russia remains the fastest-growing visitor-generating market for Vietnam.

Hoang Thi Phong Thu, Chairwoman of Anh Duong Co., said the company is working with Russia’s travel firm Pegas Touristik to further tap this fast-growing market. By the end of this year, Russian tourists will come to Vietnam in droves by chartered flights with an estimated seven or eight trips a day.

“By the end of this year, we should have catered to 250,000 Russian visitors,” she was quoted as saying.

On the contrary, the number of Chinese people booking tours to Vietnam has yet to recover fully following a sharp decline since May due to the East Sea tensions triggered by China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters.

Arrivals from other traditional markets have been in decline as well.

Bui Viet Thuy Tien, Managing Director of Asian Trails Co., Ltd, said the number of year-end tours booked in advance at her company dropped in August and September due to fewer tour buyers from Europe. As such, the company is likely to cut this year’s growth rate to less than the targeted 5 percent.

According to the General Statistics Office, foreign arrivals in Vietnam were over 6.06 million in the January-September period, a year-on-year rise of 10.4 percent thanks to the strong growth recorded in the year’s first half.-VNA