Many hotels of three- to five-star standards in the south-central beach city of Nha Trang are fully booked even though the tourism season has yet to enter its peak as large numbers of Chinese tourists are flocking to the city.
Chinese visit Nha Trang in droves
Well known for beautiful white sand beaches, Nha Trang has felt overwhelmed by the sharp upsurge in Chinese visitor arrivals.
According to the Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa Tourism Association, around 180,000 Chinese tourists came to the city last year, five times higher than in 2014. In the first three months this year alone, a staggering 110,000 Chinese traveled to Nha Trang. China is now the biggest source market for Nha Trang’s tourism sector, accounting for 30% of total international tourist arrivals.
Meanwhile, Russia used to be the largest visitor-generating market for Nha Trang, but now it follows China, with around 50,000 Russians coming in the first quarter.
When reached by the Daily, Nguyen Van Thanh, deputy chairman of the association, ascribed the substantial rise in Chinese tourist arrivals to the promotion programs executed last year by the association and the Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.
Chinese travelers to Khanh Hoa Province mostly come by air, spend big and stay at luxury hotels and resorts, thus helping offsetting the sharp fall in Russian tourist arrivals.
But compared to other regional countries like Thailand and Singapore, Chinese tourist arrivals in Vietnam are still lower, Thanh said.
Many travel firms said most Chinese travelers do not speak English, so many Chinese-speaking tour guides are needed in Nha Trang but the city now has only 10 certified guides able to speak Chinese.
Nha Trang tourism
Nha Trang tourism companies have had to hire Chinese-speaking guides from other provinces but have yet to meet the big demand. Consequently, uncertified tour guides have been found to work in Nha Trang, Thanh said.
According to Thanh, the Nha Trang tourism sector has long seen Russia as the biggest source market, so it has been so overwhelmed that it could not adjust to deal with the sudden increase in visitors from China.
Before Russia became the biggest market for Nha Trang, a majority of international tourists came from Australia. And when Russia overtook Australia as the largest source market, the tourism sector in Nha Trang also faced the same problems.
According to the General Statistics Office, Asian tourists to Vietnam rose by 21.9% year-on-year to 2.23 million in January-April. China took the lead with 789,500 travelers, up 47%, followed by Korea with 519,300, and Japan with 245,400.
In April alone, Vietnam welcomed around 208,900 Chinese tourists, double the same period last year and accounting for nearly 50% of the Asian visitors to the country.