Vietnam faces loss up to $7.7 bln in tourism due to China's coronavirus -state media

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HANOI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The coronavirus epidemic in China could wipe $5.9 billion to $7.7 billion from Vietnam's tourism earnings in the next three months as international travellers stay away from the region, state media said on Friday.

The tourism sector estimated to see two million fewer Chinese visitors due to the virus, which could result in $1.8-$2 billion of lost tourism revenue, reported the official Voice of Vietnam Radio.

China, where the outbreak began late last year, was Vietnam's biggest source of foreign tourists, accounting for a third of the 18 million visitors last year, official data showed.

Vietnam said it would also stop issuing visas for foreign visitors who had been in China in the past two weeks.

The government on Wednesday said its gross domestic product growth in the first quarter of this year "will likely be one percentage point slower" than the 6.8% target.

Vietnam confirmed an additional two cases of the new virus on Thursday, bringing the total in the Southeast Asian country to 12 cases. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)