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Vietnam's International Tourist Arrivals Increase for the First Time in 13 Months

For the first time in 13 months, Vietnam’s tourism industry is showing signs of life with the country registering a relative surge in international visitors.

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According to the latest report from the General Statistics Office, international arrivals reached 593,600 in July, a 12.1% and 5.1% bump over June and the same time period last year, respectively, reports Tuoi Tre. It represents the first positive growth since May 2014. 

Even so, Vietnam still has a long way to go before the country’s tourism authority can start patting itself on the back as the seven-month figures are still lower compared to one year ago.

In the first seven months of 2015, 4.39 million international tourists visited the country, a 9.4% drop from the same time period in 2014.

A precipitous fall in Asian visitors was partially offset by a surge in European travelers, many of whom may have taken advantage of visa waivers that the country put in place last month, according to the newspaper.

"Tourist arrivals from Cambodia in the Jan-July period dropped 43.9 percent year on year, whereas the respective declines from Laos, Thailand and China were 36.1 percent, 31.2 percent, and 24.4 percent."

"Tourists from Spain, Italy and Germany increased 6.4 percent, 5.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively."

It’s still far to early to tell, but these visa waivers may prove to be the silver bullet for Vietnamese tourism. Even so, they likely represent a temporary solution unless the country is able to concurrently improve other aspects of its tourism industry.

In June, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam said that tourists visiting Vietnam are “very scared” of unsafe traffic, dirty food and environment, thieves, beggars and overcharging.

[Photo via dnlspnk]