Vietnam looks certain to beat the year’s target of receiving 2.6–2.8 million international tourists despite the impact of the SARS disease early this year. International tourist arrivals in January–August totalled nearly 1.9 million, figures from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) show
The past three months were a low season but the country could still receive 240,000 foreign tourists a month, says the VNAT.
The government move to exempt Japanese tourists from the visa requirement has had a positive impact on tourism growth. Figures show Japanese tourist arrivals grew more than 23% year–on–year to 160,100.
International tourist arrivals by 2003 were put at about 2.4 million, down by 18% on 2002.
The target of 2.6–2.8 million foreign tourists this year looks attainable, VNAT deputy head Pham Tu says, adding the country could raise the figure to 3.0–3.5 million by 2005.