With rice exports set to experience another difficult year in 2017, tourism may be critical to lifting Vietnam’s economy according to VietNamNet Bridge.
For Vietnam to continue with a 6.7% GDP growth rate this year, being export-driven and FDI-oriented isn’t enough. Among all the sectors that Vietnam excels in, tourism will be the one to focus on.
According to the World Tourism & Travel Council, tourism revenue directly contributed 6.6% of Vietnam’s gross domestic product in 2015. If you take into account the fact that tourism drives other areas like spa & wellness services, dining and retail, then the sector contributes around 13.9% of GDP.
By 2020 Vietnam is expected to receive up to 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenue, directly contributing 10% to Vietnam’s GDP.
Tourism authorities are eyeing a 15% increase in international arrivals this year, helped along by the much-touted online e-visa system for travellers on short holidays or casual business visits.
On Saturday, officials from the Immigration Department, Tourism Department and other agencies in Ho Chi Minh City held a ceremony at Tan Son Nhat International Airport to welcome the first visitor to Vietnam to arrive with an e-visa. British national Richard Wilson said he was surprised by the warm welcome and attention he received upon arrival.