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May 31, 2020 / 14:20

Int'l arrivals to Vietnam keep falling on border closure

Arrivals from key source markets continued to decrease in May.

International arrivals to Vietnam in May continued the downtrend as Vietnam keeps its border closed to foreigners to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Some 22,700 foreigners enter Vietnam in May, down 13.6% from April and 98.3% year-on-year. The figure is a record low over the past years, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

 Foreign tourists in Trang An, Ninh Binh province.

Vietnam welcomed 3.7 million international visitors in the first five months of 2020, a drop of 48.8% over the same period last year. Vietnam started to ban flights from mainland China and its territories in February after the coronavirus breakout and gradually closed its borders with more countries. It suspended foreign entry late in March.

The country only authorized some repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home. Foreigners are allowed to enter in some exceptional cases.

Dramatic slumps in foreign arrivals were seen in major source markets such as China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan (China), Thailand, the UK, Germany, Australia, and the US.

During January – May, Asian visitors still accounted for the majority of total tourist inflows, with nearly 2.72 million, 51.4% less than the same period last year. Of the amount, sharp decreases were observed in arrivals from China (-57.2%), South Korea (-53.4%), Japan (-48.2%), Taiwan (China) (-46.1%), Thailand (-41.5%) and Malaysia (-53.9%), among others.

 Source: GSO. Chart: Nhat Minh.

In the first five months, visitors from Europe totaled 665,630, down 35.7%. Those from the Americas totaled nearly 234,300, down 46.9%, mostly from the US (with 172,800, down 47.5%). Nearly 102,300 tourists came from Oceania, 47.9% less than a year earlier while visitors from Africa were over 12,000, down 38.8%.

Arrivals by air dropped 46.9% year-on-year to around 3 million, accounting for nearly 81.3%, while 553,800 came by road, down 61.6%, and those arriving by sea jumped 11%.

Vietnam has initially contained the pandemic with a relatively low number of Covid-19 patients and has gone 44 consecutive days without local infection. 

Vietnam could consider welcoming back foreign tourists from the countries where the pandemic is under control, and pilot opening islands to foreign tourists, according to the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control at a meeting on May 28.