The tourism potential of Vietnam

Even today, if we talk about Vietnam, the horror of the terrible war that shocked the country is that it has been masterfully described in Francis Ford Coppola’s film: Apocalypse Now. However, today Vietnam shows itself to the world as a welcoming country, rich in history and with splendid natural treasures. The story is that of the very ancient civilization dating back to the 4th century BC and arose around the Gulf of Tonkin, twice conquered by the Chinese and subsequently reacquired by the Vietnamese.

The lush nature, however, is that of the long planks that flank the Red River and the Mekong River, where the jungle, consisting mainly of mangroves, is now protected by various natural parks, such as the Con Dao and Phong Nha National Park -Ke Bang, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco together with the Ha Long Bay, the My Son Shrine, the Hué monument complex and the ancient city of Hoi An. The tourist, however, will be amazed to discover next to the endless rice fields, where women wear the characteristic conical hat, a reality with a strong modernization and an unexpected opening towards the rest of the world.

With over 3000 kilometers of coastline, pristine beaches, dynamic growing cities, mountainous highlands, and diverse cultural and historic sites, Vietnam’s tourism industry continues to rank amongst the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world.

Vietnam, recently named the “Asia’s Leading Destination” for the first time at the 2018 World Travel Awards, offers a variety of options for tourists such as cultural and historical tours, sea-based tours, adventure tours, eco-tours, and luxurious vacations.

The last year, Ho Chi Minh City led among all the cities and provinces with over than 40 million visitors. Hanoi, the capital, attracted 30 million tourists. Both cities also recently featured amongst the top 10 most dynamic growing cities in the world in JLL’s Short-Term City Momentum Index (CMI) 2019.

Other cities in Vietnam became new important tourist destinations like Quang Ninh, a northeastern coastal province, emerged as one of the new destinations in 2018, attracting 12.5 million tourists. In addition, Da Nang, one of the largest city in Vietnam attracted 7.7 million tourists, including three million international tourists. Hoi An, a well preserved historical trading port and Phu Quoc, the largest island in Vietnam achieved important steps in tourism.

In Asia, visitors have increased a lot. Especially visitors from Europe and America increased 10 percent. Tourists from Australia increased by only four percent, while inbound tourists from Africa witnessed a growth of 20 percent than the last year.

The number of visitors from only two countries witnessed a decline in 2019. Cambodia and Laos, both neighboring countries witnessed a decline.

In early 2011, the Vietnamese government released the “Strategy on Vietnam’s tourism development until 2020, vision to 2030”, on developing the tourism industry as a major driver of economic growth. The plan focuses on training professionals, market development, branding strategies, infrastructure development, and developing tourism products and services with local cultural characteristics.

The number of international tourists in Vietnam increased three-fold in less than ten years. Despite this rapid growth, there is room for further expansion in the sector, which is currently restrained by issues such as infrastructure, human resources, airport capacity, and branding.

By 2025, the government aims to generate 45 billion in revenue from the tourism industry, increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP to over 10 percent, and account for over six million direct and indirect jobs.Based on the growth trajectory, the targets seems achievable but would require the government to increase public funding in infrastructure, labor quality, marketing campaigns, and brand awareness to ensure that the tourism industry reaches its full potential.

By: Domenico Greco

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