In 2019 a record 18 million tourists visited Vietnam earning VND720 trillion (£23.2 billion or US$30.8 billion) in tourist generated income. This was expected to be beaten in 2020 with up to 20 million foreign visitors.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a rapid stop to those expectations as the country closed its borders in March to prevent the spread of infection.
So far this year Vietnam has seen just over 3.8 million foreign tourists, 73% fewer than in the same period in 2019. October saw a rise in tourists of 7.6% more than in September, 14,800 visitors, but this was still more than 99% down on October 2019. International visitors are predominantly foreign experts and technical workers working in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyen Ngoc Thien, has told the National Assembly that “The number of foreign arrivals is forecast to fall by over 80 percent.” This could result in income from foreign tourism dropping by 75%.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that borders would stay closed, “The pandemic remains complicated and many countries have re-imposed lockdowns, social distancing and if we do not stay vigilant, we could easily make mistakes,” he said.
Much of Central Vietnam have also been hit by a series of massive storms since the start of October leaving at least 160 deaths after flooding and landslides.
Picture Credit Peter Borter on Unsplash
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