Vietnam welcomed around 10 percent fewer international tourists in the first two months of this year than a year earlier, as the tourism industry posted drops in the number of Chinese and Russian vacationers.
As of the end of last month, more than 1.45 million international tourists had visited Vietnam, according to data released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Of these, 1.17 million traveled by air, down 7.3 percent compared to the same period last year. The number of tourists traveling by sea fell a massive 39.2 percent year on year, whereas the fall in the road segment was 18.2 percent.
In February alone, when Vietnam celebrated the Lunar New Year (Tet) from the middle of the month, the country received 756,000 international tourist visits, up 7.9 percent from a month earlier but down 10.2 percent from February 2014.
The number of domestic tourists in the two-month period, meanwhile, was 12.5 million. Total tourist spending in the two months was VND67.79 trillion (US$3.16 billion), a 6.6 percent surge from the same period last year.
The Vietnamese tourism industry enjoyed rises in the number of holidaymakers from Finland (up 59.2 percent), South Korea (55.1 percent), New Zealand (44.4 percent), Italy (44 percent), and Spain (31.7 percent).
However, most of its traditional markets, such as China, Hong Kong, and Russia, accounted for the sharpest falls.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Vietnam in the first two months of this year dropped 40.3 percent from a year earlier, while the respective plunges of the Hong Kong and Russia markets were 51 percent and 25.7 percent.
Hoang Thi Phong Thu, chairman of Anh Duong Co., a tour organizer that targets Russian customers, said the company only managed to bring 3,500 Russian vacationers to Vietnam in February, compared to 6,000 a month earlier.
The figure will continue shrinking to 600 tourists this month, and around 100 for April, Thu sadly added.
At this time last year, as many as 6,000 tourists from Russia spent their holidays on such famous beaches as Mui Ne, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc, she said.
Anh Duong Co. thus had to cease its air charter service between Russian cities and Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc, a famed tourism island off southern Vietnam, at the end of January.
Similarly, only 117,566 Chinese tourists visited Vietnam last month, a massive 50.7 percent decline from a year earlier.