The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has written to the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism proposing China add Vietnam to the group of countries where China is resuming outbound tours to.
Nguyen Phuong Hoa, head of the Department of International Cooperation under the ministry, confirmed the information to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
According to the ministry, tourism cooperation is a bright spot in the bilateral collaboration between the two countries.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the biggest feeder market of Vietnam's tourism and Vietnam was also among the top five source markets of China. This was win-win cooperation.
Vietnam officially reopened its doors to international tourists from March 15, 2022.
The Southeast Asian country welcomed over 3.66 million foreign travelers last year and was recognized as a safe and attractive destination.
In addition, Vietnam attended the China-ASEAN Expo Tourism Exhibition in September 2022. Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism also gave his remarks at the opening ceremony of the event.
However, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism last month announced a list of 20 countries and territories where its tour agencies are allowed to take travelers to, including seven ASEAN countries, but Vietnam was excluded.
Over the past time, China has not restricted their travelers from visiting Vietnam.
Vietnamese diplomatic and tourism agencies have met with Chinese counterparts at different levels to discuss ways to foster the tourism cooperation between the two countries.
In particular, a delegation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism worked with a delegation of the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism at the ASEAN Tourism Forum held in Indonesia early this month.
The Chinese side said it needed more time to discuss Vietnam’s proposal with relevant agencies.
The Chinese Embassy in Vietnam affirmed that the Southeast Asian country is a major market of China’s tourism.
Nguyen Thi Hai Nam, deputy general director of Vietnam China International Travel Service Corporation based in Hanoi, said since the Lunar New Year, or Tet, holiday last month, her company has still served Chinese individuals, not groups.
The company will welcome a group of 50 Chinese tourists next month.
The exclusion of Vietnam from China’s list has affected the company’s recovery pace, Nam added.
According to the General Statistics Office, 5.8 million Chinese tourists visited Vietnam in 2019, accounting for 30 percent of the country’s international tourist arrivals then.
HSBC forecast in its latest report on Vietnam’s economy that the Southeast Asian country will see a rise in the number of Chinese visitors of 50-80 percent in 2023 compared to the pre-pandemic volume, or three to 4.5 million Chinese tourists.