According to tourism data, Vietnam fell far short of Southeast Asia's most popular destination,Thailand, which received over 30 million international arrivals and bagged nearly US$46 billion from tourists.
The entire region, excluding Myanmar and Brunei, raked in an estimated US$120 billion from tourism, based on data compiled by VnExpress International. However, the figure was just half that earned by the United States alone.
On average, each visitor to the U.S. spent approximately US$3,000, while in Asia, their spending was three times less.
However, Vietnam made significant progress by rising eight places in a global tourism competitiveness index compiled by the World Economic Forum. It also said the country could take better advantage of this momentum by focusing more on sustainable environment policies.
Tourists are mostly lured by Vietnam’s rich natural and cultural resources.
By 2020, the sector is expected to contribute 10% to Vietnam’s gross domestic product and is set to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors per year.
By 2030, it is aiming to become the leading destination in Southeast Asia.