Vietnamese tourism - From zero to Number 1
From a “low-cost” destination 20 years ago, Vietnam’s tourism sector has made substantial breakthroughs and become a regular in the last five years on “must-see” lists for international tourists.
Golden Bridge in Da Nang
Da Nang is the perfect example of the spectacular growth seen in local tourism. Twenty years ago, the central city held no position at all on Vietnam’s tourism map. Today, it has “positioned itself in the minds of domestic and foreign visitors,” according to Cao Tri Dung, President of the Da Nang Tourism Association.
Le Trung Chinh, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said that tourism has become an important economic sector that makes a considerable contribution to the city’s socio-economic development as well as budget funds.
According to the Da Nang Department of Tourism, the sector grew 17.88 percent on average each year in the 2015-2019 period. It welcomed 8.69 million visitors last year, an increase of 85.7 percent compared to 2015, and earned nearly 31 trillion VND in revenue, up 141.6 percent.
Vietnam’s tourism sector froze this year because of COVID-19, but the country still surpassed many to win the World Travel Awards’ World’s Leading Heritage Destination 2020.
Last year, for the first time, the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) put Vietnam among its list of top 10 hot destinations for US travellers, second only to Japan in Asia. Earlier, Australia News said that Vietnam has overtaken Bali to become the most popular destination for Australian tourists, thanks to the high level of safety and security, friendly people, unique culture, and diverse cuisine.
Figures from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) show that, in 2019, Vietnam welcomed nearly 18 million international arrivals, of which 78.1 percent were from Asia. The number of visitors from Europe rose 5.3 percent and from the Americas 6.2 percent year-on-year.
“A place to visit at least once in your life”
Along with prestigious awards, Vietnamese destinations have also been named among impressive global destinations or described as “a place to visit at least once in your life”.
The Golden Bridge in Da Nang was ranked among the top 100 World’s Greatest Places in 2018 by Time magazine. Kem Beach on Phu Quoc Island, meanwhile, was rated among the 100 most beautiful beaches on the planet by 1,200 global travel experts on the Flight Network in Canada.
The Hoang Lien Son mountain range in northwest Vietnam, together with the Guinness record-holding Fansipan Sapa cable network nearby, was named one of the world’s most exciting destinations in 2019 by the renowned National Geographic.
The capital Hanoi was 15th on a list of 25 cities in TripAdvisor’s best world destinations, overcoming popular names such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, and Rome.
A photo of the Golden Bridge taken by Jason Goh, a Malaysian tourist, went viral, receiving hundreds of comments like “Got to go there”, “So keen to visit the bridge”, and “This is the coolest place on earth. Hope I get to visit someday”.
Explaining the success Vietnam’s tourism sector has posted over the last five years, Jyotis, a travel expert from Flight Network, pointed to factors such as the maintenance of its traditional values.
Moreover, she added, Vietnam has always been a safe destination and an inspiring country.
Over the past 20 years, Mr. Son has selected old peach trees of fancifully defined shapes with the nicest blossoms for his southward-bound journey to serve customers in HCM City.