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Tourism in Vietnam Falls on SARS Fears

May 05, 2003|From Bloomberg News

HANOI — Vietnam's overseas-visitor arrivals fell about 40% in April from March because of the regional outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, the government said.

Vietnam's SARS outbreak began in late February after an infected U.S. businessman arrived in Hanoi from Hong Kong, starting an outbreak that caused 63 infections and five deaths. The U.S. advised nationals not to visit the country.

"From the beginning of April, tourism and aviation transport activities fell strongly because of the influence of SARS," Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in a speech Saturday.

Tourism contributes about 3.5% to Vietnam's gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. The World Health Organization last week said Vietnam had contained its epidemic after no new cases were reported for 20 days.

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