Economic crisis and closed airports lead to a 22% fall in tourist arrivals in November

The AFP has reported that the global economic crisis has hit Vietnamese tourism targets hard, and despite showing impressive year on year growth for the last few years it is no longer thought Vietnam will hit its target of 5 million visitors in 2008.

Despite a great start to the year with tourism figures up considerably on the previous year economic issues have clearly encouraged people to downscale their travel plans which lead to a 13% drop in tourists in October compared to the previous year and a 22% drop in November - although this dramatic fall is thought to have also been a result of the airport closures in Bangkok affecting mobility in the region as a whole.

It is predicted that next year the tourist industry will see zero growth. The Vietnamese tourist industry is worth $3 billion in GDP and employs 10% of the Vietnamese workforce so the impact could be severe.

Interestingly, the article also notes the Vietnamese Business Forum claims cutting down on Vietnam's visa regulations could increase tourism as much as 10% by encouraging more last minute trips within the region.