Hạ Long Bay
A cable car station located in Sapa, Fansipan: the highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula
The Golden Bridge at Bana Hills
The Hang Sơn Đoòng is the largest known cave passage in the world by volume. It is so large it contains its own subterranean forest and ecosystem.
The Gate leading to the Marble Mountains, a popular tourist destination
Ban Gioc Falls Giant Waterfalls located in Northern Vietnam
Bái Đính Temple, a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam

Imperial City, Huế, the former imperial capital of Vietnam

Tourism in Vietnam is a component of the modern Vietnamese economy. In 2019, Vietnam received 18 million international arrivals, up from 2.1 million in the year 2000. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is following a long-term plan to diversify the tourism industry, which brings foreign exchange into the country.[1]

Tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in recent years. In 2008, Vietnam received 4.218 million international tourists, in 2009 the number was 3.8 million, down 11%. In 2012, Vietnam received 6.84 million tourists.[2] This was a 13% increase from 2011 figure of 6 million international visitors, which was itself a rise of 2 million visitors relative to 2010 arrivals. In 2016, Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors which represented a 26% increase from the previous year.[3][4] In 2019, Vietnam with 18 million international visitors was the fifth most visited country in the Asia-Pacific region as per the World Tourism rankings released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.[5]

Tourism in the economy

Tourism is important in Vietnam. For backpackers, culture and nature lovers, beach-lovers, military soldiers and veterans, Vietnam has become a new tourist destination in Southeast Asia. Local and international tour operators offer tours to ethnic minority groups, walking and bicycle tours, photography tours, kayak trips and multi-country trips in particular with neighboring Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Foreign tourists have been able to travel freely in the country since 1997.

The economy of Vietnam has transformed from an agrarian to a service economy. More than a third of gross domestic product is generated by services, which include the hotel and catering industry and transportation. The manufacturing and construction (28 percent), agriculture and fisheries (20 percent) and mining (10 percent) have much smaller shares.[6]

Tourism contributes 4.5 percent to gross domestic product (as of 2007). After heavy industry and urban development, most foreign investment in Vietnam has been concentrated in tourism, especially in hotel projects.[7] According to usual report of World Tourism and Travel Council, tourism contributed 6.6 percent to GDP equal VND 279,287 billion (03/2016) which has important contribution promoting development of related sectors such as transportation, entertainment, cuisine etc.

Tourism statistics

International visitors

Data source: Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism[8]

Year Tourist
Arrivals
Change
5/2024 7,583,034 64,9%[9]
2023 12,602,434 44,2%[10]
2022 3,440,019 98,2%[10]
2021 3.500 −99%[10]
2020 3,686,779 −78%[10]
2019 18,008,591 16.2%[10]
2018 15,497,791 19.9%[11]
2017 12,922,151 29.1%[12]
2016 10,012,735 26%
2015 7,943,651 0.9%
2014 7,874,312 4%
2013 7,572,352 10.60%
2012 6,847,678 10.8%
2011 6,014,032 19.1%
2010 5,049,855 34.8%
2009 3,772,359 −10.9%
2008 4,253,740 0.6%
2007 4,171,564 16%
2006 3,583,486 3%
2005 3,467,757 18.4%
2004 2,927,876 20.5%
2003 2,429,600 −7.6%
2002 2,628,200 12.8%
2001 2,330,800 8.9%
2000 2,140,100 20.0%
1999 1,781,800 17.2%
1998 1,520,100 −11.4%
1997 1,715,600 6.7%
1996 1,607,200 18.9%
1995 1,351,300  

Top 31 International Visitors in Vietnam

Data Source: Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism[13]

Country 5/2024 2023 2022 3/2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 South Korea 1,952,062 3,595,062 769,167 819,089 4,290,802 3,485,406 2,415,245 1,543,883 1,152,349 849,384
 China 1,604,931 1,743,204 71,862 871,819 6,806,425 4,966,468 4,008,253 2,696,848 1,771,654 1,949,433
 Taiwan 529,476 851,024 89,463 192,216 926,744 714,112 616,232 507,301 425,060 391,040
 United States 350,244 717,073 215,274 172,706 746,171 687,226 614,117 552,644 492,847 445,945
 Japan 289,199 589,522 128,764 200,346 951,962 826,674 798,119 740,592 677,477 648,612
 Malaysia* 214,202 470,105 135,007 116,221 606,206 540,119 480,456 407,574 341,125 333,859
 Australia 213,248 390,087 99,156 92,227 383,511 386,934 370,438 320,678 323,792 322,424
 Thailand* 197,672 489,174 162,567 125,725 509,802 349,310 301,587 266,984 218,025 253,503
 Cambodia* 196,891 402,062 140,461 120,430 227,910 202,954 222,614 211,949 220,449 397,399
 India 196,357 145,340 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 United Kingdom 149,814 253,522 67,337 81,433 315,084 298,114 283,537 254,841 214,866 203,719
 Singapore* 135,171 328,195 128,399 51,726 308,969 286,246 277,658 257,041 237,496 202,870
 France 133,696 215,508 58,107 74,480 287,655 279,659 255,369 240,808 211,780 214,569
 Germany 120,134 200,425 59,975 61,465 226,792 213,986 199,872 176,015 134,784 142,843
 Russia 95,031 125,610 28,056 244,966 646,524 606,637 574,164 433,987 339,270 365,163
 Philippines* 85,936 153,168 36,281 36,969 179,190 151,641 133,543 110,967 101,451 104,988
 Indonesia* 80,607 105,380 26,338 21,446 106,688 87,941 81,065 69,653 65,660 68,974
 Canada 77,366 133,493 37,894 41,807 159,121 149,535 138,242 122,929 105,189 105,279
 Laos* 53,589 120,522 47,002 36,810 98,492 120,009 141,588 137,004 116,349 136,658
 Italy 38,059 57,054 15,051 17,774 70,798 65,562 58,041 51,265 43,202 36,509
 Netherlands 34,819 68,057 19,756 18,265 81,092 77,300 72,277 64,712 48,862 49,837
 Spain 28,010 76,087 22,511 11,783 83,597 77,071 69,528 57,957 45,483 40,824
 Poland 25,533 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
 Denmark 19,734 30,231 8,250 14,444 42,043 39,926 34,720 30,996 27,285 27,115
 New Zealand 19,424 33,730 8,681 9,470 47,088 49,854 49,115 42,588 34,731 33,385
 Sweden 16,656 25,755 6,487 21,857 50,704 49,723 44,045 37,679 34,131 30,223
  Switzerland 16,312 27,929 8,025 10,845 36,577 34,541 33,123 31,475 25,765 32,315
 Belgium 13,484 26,353 8,104 7,452 34,187 31,382 29,144 26,231 23,689 23,275
 Norway 12,323 22,717 5,235 8,958 28,037 26,134 24,293 23,110 21,130 23,165
 Finland N/A 8,618 2,476 9,994 21,480 22,785 18,236 15,953 16,283 13,867
 Hong Kong N/A 112** 43** 3,780 51,618 62,208 47,721 34,613 TBA 14,871
Total 7,583,034 12,602,434 3,661,222 3,686,779 18,008,591 15,497,791 12,922,151 10,012,735 7,898,852 7,887,013

* Country in ASEAN ** Incomplete data

Destinations and attractions

Hotel Metropôle Hanoi

National parks of Vietnam

Vietnam has 31 national parks: Ba Bể, Ba Vì, Bạch Mã, Bái Tử Long, Bến En, Bidoup Núi Bà, Bù Gia Mập, Cát Bà, Cát Tiên, Chư Mom Ray, Chư Yang Sin, Côn Đảo, Cúc Phương, Hoàng Liên, Kon Ka Kinh, Lò Gò-Xa Mát, Cape Cà Mau, Núi Chúa, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng, Phú Quốc, Phước Bình, Pù Mát, Tam Đảo, Tràm Chim, U Minh Hạ, U Minh Thượng, Vũ Quang, Xuân Sơn, Xuân Thủy, Yok Đôn.

World Heritage sites

For a more comprehensive list, see List of World Heritage Sites in Vietnam.

Thiên Đường Cave in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Quảng Bình province

Huế, Hội An, Mỹ Sơn (Quảng Nam province), Hạ Long Bay (Quảng Ninh province), Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park (Quảng Bình province), Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long (Hanoi) and Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty (Thanh Hóa province). Hạ Long Bay is one of New Seven Natural Wonders of the world.

Man and the Biosphere Programme

For a more comprehensive list, see List of biosphere reserves in Vietnam.

Vietnam has eleven world biosphere reserves,[14] from north to south: Cát Bà (Hai Phong), Red River Delta (Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh), Western Nghệ An (Nghe An), Cù Lao Chàm (Quang Nam), Kon Hà Nừng (Gia Lai), Langbiang (Lam Dong), Núi Chúa (Ninh Thuan), Đồng Nai (Dong Nai), Cần Giờ (Ho Chi Minh City), Kiên Giang (Kien Giang) and Cape Cà Mau (Ca Mau).

Foreign tourist highly recommend the rural Vietnam and see it as the most beautiful in East Asia (Da Nang-Hue are a "want to go back every year" place) [citation needed]

National tourist area

View of the Tam Cốc river and cave.

Vietnam now has 21 national tourist areas, major tourist sites that are state recognized:

Sa Pa (Lào Cai), Ba Bể (Bắc Kạn), Hạ Long BayCát Bà Island (Quảng Ninh, Hai Phong), Ba Vì National Park (Hanoi), Perfume Pagoda (Hanoi), Cổ Loa Citadel (Hanoi), Tam Cốc-Bích Động (Ninh Bình)(with 100% foreign tourist enthusiastic), Kim Liên (Nghệ An), Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park (Quảng Bình), Ho Chi Minh trail (Quảng Trị), Lăng CôHải Vân PassNon Nuoc (Thừa Thiên–Huế and Da Nang), Hội An (Quảng Nam), Van Phong Bay (Khánh Hòa), Phan ThiếtMũi Né (Bình Thuận), Dankia – Yellow Springs, Tuyền Lâm Lake (Lâm Đồng), Cần Giờ Mangrove Forest (Ho Chi Minh City), Côn Đảo (Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu), Long Hai beach (Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu), Phú Quốc (Kiên Giang), Biosphere Reserve Cape Cà Mau (Cà Mau).

Cities

Da Nang

Since 2014, Hanoi has consistently been voted in the world's top ten destinations by TripAdvisor. It ranked 8th in 2014,[15] 4th in 2015[16] and 8th in 2016.[17]

In 2014, Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City appeared in TripAdvisor's 2014 Traveler's Choice Awards for the top 25 destinations in Asia. Hanoi was ranked second, Hoi An tenth and Ho Chi Minh City eighteenth.[18] In 2017, Đà Lạt is in the list of Asia's overlooked places by the CNN.

International tourist arrivals

International airports

Hội An, a trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century

Main article: List of airports in Vietnam

Air travel is the most popular form of travel for international arrivals to Vietnam; in 2013, nearly 6 million of the 7.6 million total international arrivals were by air.[19]

Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which serves Ho Chi Minh City, is the busiest airport with the largest visitor volume. On the other hand, Noi Bai International Airport, serving Hanoi, is the largest airport in terms of land area and total capacity after its opening of the modern international terminal. Other major airports include Da Nang International Airport, Cam Ranh International Airport and Cat Bi International Airport.

In March 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has suspended issuance of all tourist visa; however, as of September 2020, the country is still closed for foreign tourists until 2022,[20] with plans to reopen for tourism from a limited number of Asian countries.[21]

Military tourism

See also: Military history of Vietnam

An American tourist crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels, constructed by the Viet Cong Guerrilla forces during the Vietnam War, now a popular tourist destination
Mỹ Sơn: Ancient Champa Hindu temples in Central Vietnam

Throughout thousands of years, wars played a great role in shaping the identity and culture of people inhabited the land which is modern day Vietnam,

There are numerous historical sites from Ancient Vietnam to the First Indochina War and the Second Indochina War.

Most notable ancient sites include:

Most notable places from the First and Second Indochina War (Vietnam War) for tourists are:

Volunteer tour programs

Various tour groups, including Saigon Hotpot, Dana Dragon Free, and Hanoi Kids, offer free travel guides for foreign travelers.

Concerns

While Vietnam is largely a safe country to travel, scams remain as a problem in the country. Vietnamese tourist industry, despite its successful expansion, has been marred with the issue of fake taxis, money switch, thieving. These concerns have hindered the opportunity to further boost Vietnam's tourism.[23]

Externalities tourism in Vietnam

Bãi Sao beach on Phú Quốc island
Hotel in Phú Quốc island

Travelling and tourism around the world have increased, mainly thanks to growling interest from China's middle hierarchy. Southeast Asia is an attractive tourist destination in recent years, which bolstered economic opportunities for countries located there. Vietnam benefited greatly from such a trend. The tourism demand right before the COVID pandemic was projected to grow yearly roughly by 4 per cent (2019–2029).[24] While the outlook will most likely not reach this target, we can expect a very volatile outcome that will most likely not be able to meet the estimated growth. Even then, in the year 2018, the Southeast Asia tourist destination had over 130 million international visitors.[25] (9.3 per cent of total global international visitor flows), and the region's share of the worldwide market is expected to expand further to 10.4 per cent by 2030 (or 187 million visitors).[26] At the same time, nobody can predict how the Chinese outbound travellers confidence in travelling will be affected. Before the pandemic, the Chinese outbound travellers had a growth of 21.7% annually between 2012 and 2017.[27]

Vietnam is a very popular tourist destination thanks to its diverse nature and culture. According to the World Economic forum's (WEF), Vietnam ranked 32nd globally in one of 120 countries with reference to its natural and folk sources and followed Indonesia and Thailand is among the Southeast Asia region in the latest 2017 Tourism Competitiveness Index. Vietnam can offer tourists a broad range of activities, starting from eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, various beautiful oceans and beaches. There are cities such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang that can offer fulfilling nightlife, shopping malls, and rich and diverse street food cuisine for urban lovers.

In addition, the Government of Vietnam is prioritizing tourism as a critical target to drive socio-economic development. The aim is to make Vietnam a top destination in Southeast Asia. To achieve the goal, the government is now preparing an innovative tourism strategy for the period 2018 to 2030 to spur the development of the tourism industry in the next decade. Many countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, focus on tourism development on their economic development plan. Vietnam had acquired a surge in domestic and international tourism in over ten years, thanks to its strategy of focusing on market segments where it has a competitive advantage. Specifically, the number of multinational tourists to Vietnam had approximately quadrupled from 4.2 million in 2008 to 15.5 million in 2018.[28] International arrivals increase to 25% from an average of around 9% per year, so travel transport industries such as airline and road also significantly increased. With domestic tourists, strong growth is what the government captures the growing demand for tourism in the region. For foreign tourists, the growth is more prominent than other rival countries in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Myanmar. As a result, Vietnam has been and is a bright spot on the world's tourist map, which is comparable to famous tourist countries in Asia such as Thailand, China, and Japan.

Despite these benefits, the tourism industry in Vietnam still has critical weaknesses in its relatively competitive aspect. The government's allocation of spending to the tourism sector is relatively low at 1.4% of total government spending in 2017. Although the tourism industry is strategically important, the vision for change in the tourism industry has not changed significantly. Indiscriminate disposal of waste, protection of marine life, forest animals, and environmental pollution are the issues that seriously affect this smokeless industry. Another major hurdle associated with foreign tourists is the visa regime. The government is still not open to the problem of visas as only 24 countries in the world are exempt from permits, which reduces the attraction of people to Vietnam.[29]

However, the COVID-19 pandemic strongly affected Vietnam's tourism as all international commercial flights were banned from landing at all international airports in Vietnam. International tourists, the primary source of revenue for the tourism industry, have declined dramatically in the past year. The number of flights in October 2020 decreased by 80% compared to the same period last year. Hotel room capacity is only 30%. The inability of foreign tourists to come to Vietnam has a massive impact on the revenue of the tourism industry and the economy, as this group spends much more heavily than domestic tourists. In 2019, the tourism industry accounts for 12% of the country's GDP,[30] international visitors only 17% but more than half: on average, each foreign tourist spends US$673, while domestic tourists only spend US$61. The tourism industry created 660 thousand jobs in the period 2014–2019.[31] and the drop in tourist spending also brought the food, beverage and retail industries into a dire situation.

The government giving to the good control of the COVID-19 epidemic with the policy of "0 cases in the community" and also the lowest COVID-19 mortality rate in the country.[32] Domestic stimulus programs not only target Vietnamese but also foreigners living permanently in the country. Vietnam has attracted responses from travel companies, tourism businesses and from localities across the country. Tourism products aimed at human health, sports tourism, medical treatment, ecology, yoga, and nature-friendly tourism are becoming more and more attractive, so domestic tourists are getting more and more attractive. Now there are many options and at ease to travel.

See also

References

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