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VN targets 1 million Chinese visitors   2010-08-06 - VNS

The Vietnamese tourism authority said it expected about 1 million Chinese holidaymakers to visit the country this year, double last year's number.

Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) attributed the rise to a series of promotional campaigns run in major Chinese cities over the last two years. He said China was a key market for the country's tourism industry.

According to VNAT, in the first six months of this year, 437,000 tourists from China visited Viet Nam, 92.5 per cent more than the same period last year.

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCM City Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the number of Chinese holidaymakers visiting the south of the country was rising by 25 per cent annually.

Travel firms have also reported significant growth in visitor numbers from China. Lien Bang Travelink said the number of tourists using the company's services had increased by 30 per cent since the beginning of the year compared to the same period in 2009.

Tu Quy Thanh, the company's director, said Chinese tourists previously used to spend three to four days primarily in the north of the country but that now they were fanning out and travelling to the central and southern regions.

Thanh added that high-end travellers from China were now spending more money than their counterparts from the West.

However, Thanh said that communication problems were a source of concern and that Vietnamese travel firms were finding it difficult to find Chinese partners.

He also said that Viet Nam could not compete with regional countries such as Bangkok or Singapore in terms of shopping malls or medical facilities. He also said that other countries such as Indonesia, offered a greater array of cultural attractions, and that Japan was a better destination for luxury products.

However, he said that Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay and HCM City were holding their own in terms of cultural appeal and proving increasingly attractive to Chinese holidaymakers.

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