According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), foreign arrivals this month totalled 286,000 compared to 552,000 in August.

September is usually the last month of the low demand season, and foreign arrivals often go down, but a sharp drop of 50 percent is unprecedented, VNAT said.

The slump was seen most clearly in China and Cambodia, the two biggest visitor-generating markets for Vietnam's tourism with the highest growth rate of 35.9 percent and 68 percent respectively last month.

Compared to last September, the number of tourists who came by air also dropped 31.2 percent and the number of foreign visitors who came for purely travel purposes shrank by 24.6 percent.

In all, Vietnam welcomed 4.3 million foreign tourist arrivals in the January-September period, which is still a 15.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Sài Gòn Tiếp Thị - October 3, 2011