Chinese tourist number drops, S.Korean source market shortens gap

Vietnam has seen its largest source market, China, declining by 5.6% over the January-March period this year, while the number of South Korean travelers to the country has inched up.

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Data from the General Statistics Office shows that China remains Vietnam’s largest source market though, with 1.28 million Chinese tourists coming to the country over the first quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, South Korea ranked second on the country’s source market list, rising by 24.1%, with over 1.1 million visitors to Vietnam in the same period.

Since 2018, after many years of maintaining a gap with the South Korean market, even reaching a gap of one million visitors at one point, the pace of the Chinese source market has slowed.

In particular, in the first quarter of 2018, Chinese tourist arrivals grew by 42.9%, posting a gap of 527,000 visitors against the second spot. However, this gap has narrowed to 174,000 tourists over the first quarter of 2019.

In addition, the data indicates that the tourism sector’s efforts to diversify its source markets failed. The sector was unable to restructure the source markets to avoid depending heavily on some major markets.

In the first quarter of 2018, Vietnam’s two largest markets were China and South Korea, accounting for over 53% of the total international tourist arrivals in the country. The figure was recorded at nearly 53% in the same period this year.

Apart from this, Asia remained the country’s main source market, making up over 75% of the total, at 3.4 million out of a combined 4.5 million international tourists to Vietnam in the first three months of 2019, according to the the General Statistics Office.

Last year, Vietnam welcomed over 15.5 million international tourist arrivals, up 19.9% against the figure seen in 2017. The tourism sector is expected to serve 18 million international tourists this year.