Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, is captured from above at night. Photo by VnExpress/Cao Anh Tuan
The southern metropolis welcomed a record high 2.25 million foreign tourists in the first three months of this year, up 10 percent from a year earlier. The city accounted for half the total number of foreign arrivals during the period, according to the city’s tourism department.
Foreign arrivals in Vietnam went up seven percent year-on-year to 4.5 million in Q1, the General Statistics Office reported.
Japan, South Korea, China and the U.S. were the four biggest groups of foreigners visiting HCMC, helping it earn Q1 tourism revenues of VND39.8 trillion ($1.71 billion).
Singapore-based travel site Kayak had said earlier this year that HCMC will be a top 10 destination for international visitors in 2019.
It has also been named among the 15 fastest-growing tourist cities in the world by the Travelsupermarket website, with 10.2 million foreign arrivals by 2025.
In 2017, Price of Travel, a travel cost database, ranked Saigon the world’s third cheapest city, where backpackers only need $18.33 a day for meals, beer, a place to stay, public transportation and an entrance fee to a top attraction.
The same year, a survey carried out by the city’s Tourism Department and the General Statistics Office estimated hat international visitors to HCMC spent $145 a day and stayed for 5.21 days, on average.
The city, which has a vibrant nightlife, has consistently been the most popular tourist destination in Vietnam, with its modern skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and war relics.