Foreign visitors flood tourist destinations during New Year


A foreign man joins the crowd to ring in the New Year in Phu Quoc, Dec. 31 2023. Photo by Nhat Le

Phu Quoc, HCMC, Hanoi and Da Nang attracted hordes of foreign tourists during the three-day New Year holiday, heralding a fruitful year for tourism.

Craig Holowell, an Australian tourist, and his wife arrived on Phu Quoc Island to celebrate new year.

He relaxed by the pool and took the cable car over the sea to Hon Thom Islet to visit the amusement complexes and go coral diving.

"It was an unforgettable time for me and my wife," he said.

Phu Quoc received 88,000 tourists during the holidays that wrapped up on Monday, with foreigners accounting for over a fifth.

The average hotel occupancy rate was over 63%, much higher than last year's 50%.

Ho Chi Minh City received 46,528 foreign visitors, up 86% from last year when too it was a three-day holiday.

The average hotel occupancy rate there was 87%.

Reports from travel businesses showed an increase in foreign tourists coming to the city, especially cruise passengers from Europe, the U.S., Australia, and Japan.

Jo Dey, an American who came to the city to celebrate the new year with her family, said she enjoyed the festive atmosphere.

She went on a motorbike tour on New Year's Eve to explore the city's cuisine and called it "extremely interesting."

On the way back to her hotel, she saw crowds packing downtown streets to watch the fireworks over the Saigon River.

Some people in my group were stuck for more than 30 minutes. However, we really felt safe and happy to celebrate the new year in Vietnam."

Hanoi received 402,000 tourists, 72,000 of them foreigners, double last year’s number.

Luxury cruises in Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay in the north were fully booked, mostly by foreign travelers, according to data from Mustgo, a travel reservation platform with 2,000 hotel partners in the country.

The central city of Da Nang received 261,000 visitors, up 34%, with foreigners accounting for half.

Quang Nam, home to the ancient city Hoi An, saw a marginal rise in the number of foreign visitors to 91,000.

The central province of Khanh Hoa, home to Nha Trang, saw 465,000 people visiting during the long weekend, a 30% increase, with foreigners accounting for 13%.

The average hotel occupancy rate was 73%.

This year Vietnam hopes to attract 18 million foreign visitors, the same number as in 2019, the year before Covid-19 began.

Last year there were 12.6 million arrivals, 3.4 times the 2022 figure.