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Vietnam wraps up 2016 National Tourism Year with flying colors

Monday, December 26, 2016, 10:33 GMT+7

Vietnam’s tourism has notched up a grand victory in 2016 with multiple achievements, highlighted by a record number of international arrivals, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Sunday at a ceremony that concluded a year-long promotional campaign.

The 2016 National Tourism Year was hosted by the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, with the theme “Discovering the Southern Land,” setting a full-year target of welcoming 8.5 million international visitors, against nearly eight million in 2015.

At the ceremony on the province’s Phu Quoc Island, the tourism ministry said Vietnam’s tourism has set a new milestone by surpassing the landmark of 10 million foreign arrivals in 2016.

The symbolic 10 millionth tourist, British national Michael Tonge, was warmly welcomed by the tourism ministry upon his arrival at Phu Quoc International Airport on Christmas.

The 9,999,999th and 10,000,001st international visitors, Eva Lena Karlsson from Sweden and Andrej Balzer from Germany, were also greeted at the same ceremony. The three were given numerous gifts and a medal for contributing to Vietnam’s tourism development.

Vietnam’s foreign tourist numbers in 2016 jumped 20 percent from a year earlier, and Kien Giang, as the host of the 2016 National Tourism Year, also reported impressive tourism performance.

“Thanks to the success of the 2016 National Tourism Year, Kien Giang received 5.4 million tourists, both domestic and international, this year, up 24 percent from 2015,” Mai Van Huynh, the province’s deputy chairman, said.

Nearly 320,000 foreign visitors spent their holidays in Kien Giang, mostly visiting the famed Phu Quoc Island, in 2016, whereas the total tourism revenue topped VND3.53 trillion (US$157.59 million), a strong 41.9 percent surge from last year, Huynh added.

Goals for 2017

The tourism ministry also announced at yesterday’s ceremony that the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai will host the 2017 National Tourism Year, centered on “The Colors of Vietnam’s Northwestern Region.”

Lao Cai is home to the famous tourist town of Sa Pa. There are a number of other must-visit attractions in the northwestern area, such as Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province, Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang Province, and Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan Province.

For 2017, Vietnam’s tourism industry targets 11.5 million international tourist visitors and 66 million domestic tourists, with a total revenue of VND460 trillion ($20.54 billion), in comparison with VND400 trillion ($17.86 billion) this year.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, the country only received one million international tourists in 1994, and it took as many as six years to double the figure.

The foreign tourist numbers rose to three million in 2005, five million in 2010 and 7.94 million in 2015.

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