Vietnam Welcomes 12.6 Million Foreign Tourists in 2023, Ranked 4th in Southeast Asia

According to Seasia Stats, Vietnam is ranked 4th among the countries with the highest number of international visitors in 2023.

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In the period of January to November 2023, Vietnam received 12.6 million foreign visitors, as reported by seasia.stats, a media site that provides statistical information about Southeast Asian countries.

Based on official data from respective tourism ministries, Malaysia had the highest number of tourist arrivals with 29 million in 2023. Thailand closely followed in second place with 28 million, while Singapore ranked third with 13.6 million visits.

Source: Seasia Stats

About 12.6 million international tourists visited Vietnam in 2023, which is a 3.4-fold increase compared to 2022 and surpasses the earlier target of 8 million.

However, this yearly figure is only 70% of the pre-pandemic level in 2019. The agency mentioned that in December alone, there were nearly 1.4 million tourists, which is an 11.2% increase compared to the previous month and a 93.9% increase compared to the previous year.

In the first two months of 2024, Vietnam welcomed over 3 million foreign tourists, representing a 68.7% increase compared to the previous year and equivalent to 98.5% of the pre-pandemic numbers, as reported by the General Statistics Office.

In January 2024 alone, there were over 1.5 million tourist arrivals, which is equivalent to the same period in 2019 before the pandemic. In February, there were more than 1.5 million foreign visitors, a 64% increase compared to the same period last year.

This positive result is attributed to favorable visa policies, stimulus programs, and the government and people’s efforts in promoting and marketing tourism.

The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) stated that these figures demonstrate a positive recovery in Vietnamese tourism and provide a foundation for fulfilling the target of attracting 18 million foreign tourists this year.

Vietnamese tourism sees positive recovery in the first two months of 2024. Photo: VNA

Following Directive No. 06/CT-TTg issued by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is considering expanding the visa exemption policy. The directive outlines key tasks to be implemented after the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.

The directive instructs the MPS to explore expanding the visa exemption policy for citizens of other countries based on the current situation and Vietnam’s relations with those countries.

The Foreign Ministry has been ordered to review the existing unilateral visa exemption for citizens of 13 countries and collaborate with the MPS to propose adding other countries to Vietnam’s unilateral visa exemption list.

The expansion of the visa-free policy aims to attract more international tourists to Vietnam and enhance the country’s tourism competitiveness in the region and globally.

Currently, Vietnam grants visa exemptions to citizens of 25 countries, including 13 countries entitled to unilateral exemption such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus.

Since August 2023, electronic visas have been available for citizens of all countries, with extended stays from 30 to 90 days and multiple entries. Citizens of countries entitled to unilateral visa exemption are now allowed a stay of 45 days instead of 15 days.

Hannah Nguyen