Losing a large number of Asian tourists, Vietnam tourism is struggling.

Vietnam is a country with a potential tourism market and miraculous growth, which is expected to explode in 2020. According to VIRAC, the number of Asian visitors to Vietnam in January 2020 is estimated at 1.543.857 tourists, up 9,7% compared to December 2019 and up 39.9% over the same period last year. China is still the leading country with 644.702 tourists, accounting for 41,8%. South Korea ranked second with 468.423 tourists, accounting for 30,3%. The number of Japanese and Taiwanese tourists to Vietnam has also increased significantly in recent years.

Asian visitors to Vietnam in January 2020


Source: VIRAC

The outbreak of the Covid-19 earlier this year caused Vietnam’s tourism industry to suffer the strongest consequences. Not only did the number of Chinese tourists decrease to zero, but the Korean and Japanese markets also negatively affected this key economic sector in the near future. 

The number of tourists fells sharply in key tourist areas

According to VIRAC update, in February, the total number of Korean visitors to Hanoi was 26.628 arrivals, a decrease of more than 50% compared to the same period last year. Besides Japan, a sharp decline of 20% compared to the same period in 2019. 

In Da Nang, Korean tourists always achieved an increase of more than 80%, but in the epidemic situation, the number of Korean visitors decreased by 65-70%, almost no tourists from this country to Danang in the past few days. 

In Quang Ninh, nearly 30.000 Korean tourists canceled their sightseeing tour of Yen Tu.

For Khanh Hoa, South Korea is the province’s third largest international market. With very fast growth, in January 2020, the province welcomed 50.100 Korean visitors, up 327% over the same period in 2019. However, due to the impact of Covid-19, the number of visitors in February is expected to decrease over the previous month.

Massive flight cuts

Facing complicated movements of Covid-19, from February 17 to March 28 in 2020, airlines have reduced the frequency of operation and canceled 50% of flights between Vietnam and South Korea.

Bamboo Airways said it will suspend the Da Nang – Incheon and Nha Trang – Incheon flights from February 26. All aircraft after operating from South Korea to Vietnam are disinfected with Disinfection Spraying solution CH2200 as prescribed by Vietnam Airlines. To enhance the prevention of epidemics, Vietnam Airlines’ flights to Korea were immediately returned to Vietnam, flight crews did not enter Korea. In the case of visitors from Korea must declare health, body temperature, guests and flight crews are arranged a separate path.


Damage to tourism revenue

In 2019, in total 18 million international visitors to Vietnam, Chinese visitors were over 5.8 million; Korean visitors ranked second with 4.3 million. China and South Korea alone accounted for 60% of international visitors to Vietnam. Therefore, the decline in the number of tourists from these two markets has consequences being not small for the Vietnam’s economy. 

Thousands of tours were canceled, many entertainment services and festivals were postponed. Some hotels stop welcoming international guests to minimize the risk of disease spread. Although there are policies to reduce ticket prices, cable car tickets discount, but still have not seen positive signs. In February 2020, hotel and restaurant revenue reached 4.550 billion VND, down 3,9% compared to the previous month. Tourism revenue reached 855 billion VND, down 1,1%. 

According to VIRAC’s prediction, if the epidemic lasts for the first quarter, the loss of revenue from international visitors in 2020 is about 2.3 billion USD; if the epidemic lasts for the second quarter, the damage will be about 5 billion USD.


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