Foreign arrivials rise sharply after visa waiver

The visa-free travel policy which Vietnam granted for five European countries last month has paid off, with tourists from those markets hugely contributing to the solid growth of the country’s international arrival numbers in August.

Vietnam welcomed 664,985 international vacationers this month, a 12% increase from a month earlier, and 7.5% from August 2014, according to the General Statistics Office.

This is the second straight month the Southeast Asian country posted a rise in international tourist numbers. The figure had earlier dropped for a 13-month stretch from May 2014.

Vietnam began waiving visas for German, French, British, Italian and Spanish visitors on July 1, with an allowed 15-day stay for each entry.

The number of Spanish nationals visiting Vietnam in August thus rose by a massive 159.3% from a month earlier, whereas the respective increases for the Italian and German markets are 141.4% and 54.1%, according to the General Statistics Office.

The number of French and British visitors also rose by 25.8% and 25.5%, respectively, in August compared to July.

Vietnam also enjoyed double-digit growth from other major markets such as the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

More than 5.06 million international tourists visited Vietnam in the January-August period, a good signal for the country’s recovering tourism, as it has yet to enter the season of high travel demand, which is Christmas and New Year.