Vietnam’s tourism industry sees revenue jump 40% to USD5 billion

The hospitality industry wraps up this year in unthinkable success, generating revenue of VND96 trillion, or nearly USD5 billion, jumping by around 40% from last year’s VND70 trillion, said the national tourism administration.

“It’s impressive growth,” Vu The Binh, Director of the Travel Department under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said.

VNAT said the tourism industry has this year welcomed an estimated 5,050,000 international visitors plus 28 million local travelers, or respective increases of 1.15 million foreign visitors and over three million domestic travelers.

On December 24, VNAT organized a ceremony in the capital city of Hanoi to welcome the five-millionth foreign visitor to the country, who was a Chinese woman.

Binh said the increasing travel trend that that began early this year had been anticipated, but tourism authorities had never been so upbeat about such growth rates. In the beginning of the year, VNAT targeted to attract 4.5 million international visitors in 2010 only.

The national tourism agency reported that tourism centers such as HCMC, Khanh Hoa, Danang, Quang Nam and Quang Ninh took the lead in terms of growth.

HCMC alone has welcomed 3.1 million foreign visitors, up 20% year-on-year, while its revenue rose 17% year-on-year to VND41 trillion (USD2 billion).

The central province of Quang Nam expected around 2.45 million tourists to the province this year, half of the number being foreigners, while Danang has around 1.77 million local and foreign travelers with tourism revenue of nearly VND1.24 trillion, up 39% compared to last year.

Despite the strong growth, tourism enterprises are still complaining about greater hardships this year than last, citing higher operation costs, a depreciation of Vietnam dong against major foreign currencies like the USD and Euro, and the winding down of stimulus packages they enjoyed in 2009. Furthermore, as a full economic recovery is not in sight in developed economies, the number of travelers from these long-haul markets has also fallen, they said.

“Our revenue rose VND40 billion to VND160 billion this year, but the profit margin was narrower because of higher costs,” said Cao Tri Dung, Director of Vitours in Danang.

Last year, the economic stimulus package offered numerous benefits for tourism companies, including a 50% reduction of the value added tax (VAT) for some travel and hotel services. The VAT reduction alone gave Dung’s company up to VND1 billion, he said.

Duong Thanh Thuy, Chairwoman of the Trung Thuy Group Corporation, said that the world financial crisis still had bad impacts on tourism as tourists tightened their purse strings.

“At our shopping centers, many tourists now choose cheaper souvenirs or just buy fewer products. Tourist spending is less than in the past,” she said

Source: SGT

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