|Tourists sunbathe at Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Booking data from Webjet, the largest online travel booking site in Australia, shows that Vietnam has overtaken Bali to become the most favorite travel destination for Australian tourists.
Volcano eruptions and earthquakes have deterred Australian tourists from returning to Bali, and the number of tours to the beautiful island has reduced significantly over the past year, Australian news website news.com.au quoted Webjet's managing director John Guscic as saying.
Instead, more Australian visitors are showing greater interest in Vietnam, a country known for beautiful beaches, mountains, rice terraces, world heritage sites, plus low cost of living. Vietnam has also achieved renown as a dream destination for expats.
The online booking site has reported a 63% growth in full-year profit thanks to a bookings surge to Asian countries, mainly Vietnam.
Australian travel blogger Phoebe Lee, who has taken global viewers through Hanoi in two CNN commercials, told VnExpress that she had visited Ha Long Bay and the central ancient town of Hoi An, two the most popular places in Vietnam, with her husband Matt, a videographer.
“We loved them so much we can’t wait to go back,” Lee said.
“The locals are inclusive, they really want you to experience Vietnam and they’re so happy to share it with you and talk to you. I’ll never forget the warm smiles and kindness I’ve experienced in Vietnam.”
Australia has always been Vietnam’s top 10 feeder markets, and the number of Australians to Vietnam grew by 10.8% year-on-year in the first eight months of this year, accounting for 3% of all foreign arrivals.
Last year, the country welcomed 370,000 Australian tourists, a 11.5% increase from a year before.
Vietnam has tried to relax its entrance procedures with an e-visa policy which is now available to people from 46 countries, with Indians and Australians added late last year.
Visitors with e-visas can touch down at any of Vietnam’s eight international airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai in Hanoi and Da Nang in the central region.
They can also arrive via land at 13 international border gates, and via sea at seven ports across the country.