Published on : Monday, February 6, 2017
For Vietnam, last year was one of the most difficult years for the country’s rice exports with shipments falling more than 25% year-on-year. Rice exports are set to experience another tough year in 2017, and so, tourism and FDI are expected to be the sectors for lifting Vietnamese economy. According to the latest report from the General Department of Customs, Vietnam exported 4.8 million tons of rice in 2016, dropping nearly a million tons against 2015, failing to meet the annual target of 5.4 million tons. Vietnam earned only $2.1 billion from rice exports in 2016, down from $2.8 billion in 2015 and $2.9 billion from 2014.
The traditional customers of Vietnam like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have gradually reduced their dependence on imports by successfully boosting their domestic supplies in order to ensure food security. China has also lessened imports from Vietnam by about 20% in 2016. Hence, tourism will be a key sector Vietnam needs to focus on.
According to the World Tourism and Travel Council, tourism revenue directly contributed 6.6% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2015. If areas like spa and wellness services and dining and retail are considered, then the sector contributes around 13.9% of GDP. Visitors from China to Vietnam increased 67.9% in January this year compared to a year ago. This accounts for a quarter of Vietnam’s total international visitors. The country welcomed more than 1 million foreign visitors in the first month of 2017, which is a 23.6% increase.
70% of these arrivals were from Asian countries. Vietnam has also offered visa exemptions to visitors from South Korea, Japan and its Southeast Asian neighbors. It is also attracting visitors from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. For providing the tourism industry with a major push, the Vietnamese government has launched the much-touted online visa system for travelers on short holidays or casual business visits