Tourism arrivals in Vietnam reach record high

The famous red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam © Arno Maierbrugger

Vietnam welcomed a record number of international tourists in 2019 of over 18 million, up 16.2 per cent against 2018, according to statistics released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Total revenue from tourism accounted for $30 billion, while average annual growth in arrival numbers over three consecutive years reached 22 per cent.

Vietnam overtook Indonesia in terms of international tourist arrival numbers in Southeast Asia and now ranks fourth behind Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. China remained the largest source of tourists, accounting for 5.8 million or 32 per cent of the total, followed by South Korea (4.3 million or 24 per cent), Japan (952,000) and Taiwan (926,000). Other important source countries or regions were Europe, the U.S. and Australia.

Expectations for 2020 are an influx about 20.5 million tourists, which now have become an important factor for Vietnam’s economy by contributing over six per cent to the country’s annual GDP over the past years. Total revenue from tourism is forecast at $36 billion in 2020.

Among the most popular tourism destinations is the capital Hanoi, which is now preparing for the country’s first Formula One Race in April 2020. It is expected that, amid an overhaul in transportation infrastructure and visa exemption for foreign spectators, the number of visitors to Hanoi would see a significant rise owing to this international event.

Cultural and historical sites and popular destinations

Vietnam’s business metropolis Ho Chi Minh City also remains a popular destination for visitors due to its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral and the 19th-century Central Post Office. Of more recent historic interest are the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace, among others. Food stalls line the city’s streets, and the many coffee houses and local restaurants lure visitors, especially around the bustling Ben Thanh Market and in downtown. However, the current subway construction makes traffic in the city center even more chaotic than it already was.

Ho Chi Minh City is also a starting point for trips to neighbouring district of Binh Duong, which is currently being developed for tourism with a a wide range of all-year-round activities to introduce visitors to Binh Duong’s distinct cuisines, cultures, and people, as well as to the Mekong Delta and the city of Can Tho, known for its canal network and nearby floating markets.

Other popular destinations in Vietnam include Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An , Hue, Ha Long Bay, Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and the island of Phu Quoc, while a lot of other destinations and islands are still yet to be discovered.

World heritage, golf, food and medical tourism

The country is home to eight world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO, namely the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, My Son Sanctuary, Hoi An ancient town, the Complex of Hue Monuments, Ha Long Bay, Trang An Landscape Complex, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and the Ho Dynasty Citadel.

Vietnam also received the World’s Best Golf Destination award at the international World Golf Awards, a part of the World Travel Awards, held in the United Arab Emirates in October last year, while the country was further awarded Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination at the same event.

Vietnam is also emerging as a key player in Southeast Asia’s medical tourism industry. As per latest available figures, in 2017, 80,000 foreign tourists came to Vietnam for health check-ups and medical treatment, bringing in $2 billion in total. The medical tourism industry is projected to grow 18 to 20 per cent annually. Key locations for medical tourism are Phu Quoc, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Nang. Resorts in these regions have tried to integrate facilities to make them more suitable for medical tourism.

The famous red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam © Arno Maierbrugger Vietnam welcomed a record number of international tourists in 2019 of over 18 million, up 16.2 per cent against 2018, according to statistics released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Total revenue from tourism accounted for $30 billion, while average annual growth in arrival numbers over three consecutive years reached 22 per cent. Vietnam overtook Indonesia in terms of international tourist arrival numbers in Southeast Asia and now ranks fourth behind Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. China remained the largest source of tourists, accounting for 5.8...

The famous red bridge at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam © Arno Maierbrugger

Vietnam welcomed a record number of international tourists in 2019 of over 18 million, up 16.2 per cent against 2018, according to statistics released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Total revenue from tourism accounted for $30 billion, while average annual growth in arrival numbers over three consecutive years reached 22 per cent.

Vietnam overtook Indonesia in terms of international tourist arrival numbers in Southeast Asia and now ranks fourth behind Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. China remained the largest source of tourists, accounting for 5.8 million or 32 per cent of the total, followed by South Korea (4.3 million or 24 per cent), Japan (952,000) and Taiwan (926,000). Other important source countries or regions were Europe, the U.S. and Australia.

Expectations for 2020 are an influx about 20.5 million tourists, which now have become an important factor for Vietnam’s economy by contributing over six per cent to the country’s annual GDP over the past years. Total revenue from tourism is forecast at $36 billion in 2020.

Among the most popular tourism destinations is the capital Hanoi, which is now preparing for the country’s first Formula One Race in April 2020. It is expected that, amid an overhaul in transportation infrastructure and visa exemption for foreign spectators, the number of visitors to Hanoi would see a significant rise owing to this international event.

Cultural and historical sites and popular destinations

Vietnam’s business metropolis Ho Chi Minh City also remains a popular destination for visitors due to its French colonial landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral and the 19th-century Central Post Office. Of more recent historic interest are the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace, among others. Food stalls line the city’s streets, and the many coffee houses and local restaurants lure visitors, especially around the bustling Ben Thanh Market and in downtown. However, the current subway construction makes traffic in the city center even more chaotic than it already was.

Ho Chi Minh City is also a starting point for trips to neighbouring district of Binh Duong, which is currently being developed for tourism with a a wide range of all-year-round activities to introduce visitors to Binh Duong’s distinct cuisines, cultures, and people, as well as to the Mekong Delta and the city of Can Tho, known for its canal network and nearby floating markets.

Other popular destinations in Vietnam include Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hoi An , Hue, Ha Long Bay, Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Dalat, Mui Ne and the island of Phu Quoc, while a lot of other destinations and islands are still yet to be discovered.

World heritage, golf, food and medical tourism

The country is home to eight world heritage sites recognised by UNESCO, namely the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, My Son Sanctuary, Hoi An ancient town, the Complex of Hue Monuments, Ha Long Bay, Trang An Landscape Complex, Thang Long Imperial Citadel and the Ho Dynasty Citadel.

Vietnam also received the World’s Best Golf Destination award at the international World Golf Awards, a part of the World Travel Awards, held in the United Arab Emirates in October last year, while the country was further awarded Asia’s Leading Culinary Destination at the same event.

Vietnam is also emerging as a key player in Southeast Asia’s medical tourism industry. As per latest available figures, in 2017, 80,000 foreign tourists came to Vietnam for health check-ups and medical treatment, bringing in $2 billion in total. The medical tourism industry is projected to grow 18 to 20 per cent annually. Key locations for medical tourism are Phu Quoc, Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Da Nang. Resorts in these regions have tried to integrate facilities to make them more suitable for medical tourism.

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