In the first half of 2015, Vietnam welcomed 40 million domestic visitors and 3.8 million international arrivals. H1-2015 witnessed growth of 70.9% increase in domestic visitors, from 23.4 million to 40 million. On the other hand, international arrivals decreased from 4.3 million to 3.8 million, leading to a year-on-year decrease of 11.3%. The declining trend persisted throughout 13 consecutive months from June 2014, but has reversed since July 2015 with a 4.1% decrease YoY at the end of October .The actual figure for international arrivals in H1 2015 met 44.7% of the target for the whole of 2015 (8.5 million), set by the VNAT.
In terms of revenue, total tourism revenue in H1-2015 reached VND 190 trillion (USD 8.7 billion), increasing by 52.1% increase compared to VND 125 billion in H1-2014. Total revenue achieved 70.4% of the target set by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) for the whole of 2015. (VND 270 trillion, or USD 12.4 billion).
The domestic tourism stimulus program, themed “Vietnamese travel in Vietnam – Each journey to love the fatherland more” was launched in October 2014 by VNAT and has taken place during 2015, contributed to the increase of domestic tourists. Many provincial tourism administrations and tour operators supported the program by boosting advertising and marketing activities, encouraging local travel agencies to offer deals on air fares and tours, holding festivals, events, fairs and competitions to attract visitors. In addition, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jestar Pacific also joined the program, offering discounts to most major tourism destinations.
International arrivals declined significantly from major inbound markets such as China, Russia, Cambodia and Thailand. The slump was due to the tensions over the East Sea, the depreciation of the Russian Rouble and continuing economic uncertainty in many countries. In contrast, in 2015, Vietnam welcomed an impressive number of visitors from South Korea that rose by 36% compared to H1-2014. The growth of South Korean tourists was attributable to the national budget-funded destination marketing activities, promotion programs to major Korean broadcasters and travel agencies, and the tourism cooperation program between Vietnam and South Korea.
International arrivals in Ha Noi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) rose noticeably in H1-2015. Specifically, Ha Noi welcomed 1.5 million foreign visitors, an 8.8% increase in relation to H1-2014. Likewise, over 2 million foreign visitors arrived in HCMC, leading to a 3% increase compared to H1-2014. Da Nang, which was badly affected by the East Sea issues in 2014, experienced a significant rebound in foreign visitors up 33% in H1 2015.
In comparison with other ASEAN countries, Vietnam experienced the largest downtrend in H1-2015 in international arrival growth rate compared to Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia
Despite various incidents of violence, bombings, and Middle East respiratory syndrome, Thailand tourism still recovered from the plunge in the previous year, achieving 13.7 million in inbound tourists, a 17.7% increase compared to H1-2014. Likewise, international arrivals in Cambodia steadily increased from 2.2 million to 2.3 million, a 4.6% increase relative to that of 2014. Meanwhile, Singapore welcomed 7.5 million inbound tourists, a fall similar to Vietnam’s but at a smaller percentage of 3.4%.