Vietnam opened up to tourism in 1960, with a modest 219 hotels at that time, mainly serving domestic tourists, diplomatic delegations and foreign experts with the amount of international visitors coming to Vietnam only reaching 36.910 by 1975.
Over the next 50 or more years, with the country facing many challenges and difficulties, Vietnam’s tourism industry gradually began to flourish, in recent years achieving consecutive unprecedented growth.
Over the past three years, the tourism industry has been growing at an annual rate of 30% in terms of international arrivals. By the end of 2017, the total registered foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to tourism was estimated at more than US$15 billion, accounting for over 5% of the country’s total registered FDI amount.
In the first half of 2018, international visitors to Vietnam reached nearly eight million, growing by 27.2% over the same period last year, and total tourism revenue was estimated at VND312 trillion (US$14.2 billion), representing an increase of 22.5% over the same period last year.
Visitors from Asian countries increased by 32.7% on-year. Tourist arrivals from Europe, Australia, and Africa increased by 11%, 13.5%, and 22.2%, respectively.
To serve this increasing demand, the tourism service sector has also shown strong growth. To date, nearly 2,000 international travel agencies and over 25,600 accommodation facilities with a total of 508,000 rooms are available across the country. Of these, the three-to five-star hotels offer 863 facilities with 101,400 rooms.
Over 21,000 tour guides have been licensed. Tourism creates jobs and provides direct incomes for some 2.5 million people.
Vietnam’s tourism is growing dramatically with a variety of high quality products, creating the basis for the formation of attractive destinations, the dynamic areas of development. In addition to leisure travel, Vietnam has also been honoured in the world travel category with other types of tourist attractions such as adventure tourism and ecotourism, amongst others.
For the first time, Vietnam was ranked sixth in the Top 10 fastest-growing tourist destinations in 2017. The tourism business community, displaying enthusiasm and creativity, has also contributed to enhancing Vietnam’s tourism sector on the international scene, gaining a series of prestigious international awards.
With these impressive growth figures, Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said, “Vietnam’s tourism sector is developing at an astonishing rate, with an influx of investment in luxury tourism products, including leisure tourism, sea tourism, mountain retreats, and golf.
With the appearance of such world-leading hotel management groups as Accor, IHG, JW Marriott, Hilton and Melia, amongst others, the image and prestige of Vietnam’s tourism sector is changing rapidly in positive ways, helping to define the country on the world map as an attractive tourism destination.”
Following the successes of 2017, the tourism industry of Vietnam in 2018 has shown positive signs and is expected to create a new breakthrough. This is the basis for the industry to confidently achieve the 2018 target to welcome 15-17 million international tourists with a total revenue of about VND628 trillion (US$28.6 billion). The sector will also focus on turning Vietnam into a safe and friendly destination while improving the quality of services.
At the Vietnam Tourism Awards 2018 ceremony hosted to honour the best tourism businesses, investors, and individuals promoting Vietnam’s tourism, on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the Vietnamese tourism industry, 85 enterprises in the categories of travel, hotels, transportation, restaurants, golf courses, and tourism investors were highlighted.
The awards include Top 10 leading travel firms welcoming international visitors to Vietnam; 15 best five-star hotels; 15 best four-star hotels; and Top 30 transportation companies, restaurants, and destinations. The Top 5 tourism investment groups-Vinpearl, Sun Group, Muong Thanh Hospitality, FLC Group, and Thien Minh Group-were lauded for their great contributions to the development of tourism.
The ceremony also awarded prizes to the 12 best articles as part of the Vietnam Timeless Charm writing contest hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, and Labour Newspaper.
Timeout reporter Nguyen Thi Duc Hanh won first prize for her article on the beauty of the northwest mountainous area under the title “Vibrant market in wild nature”. The “I Love Vietnam” award was granted to UK writer Lana O’Sullivan for her article on Vietnamese tourism titled “Vietnam in a Nutshell.”
Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said, “I believe that the tourism industry in Vietnam will continue developing and quickly realise the goal of becoming a major industry, contributing to making Vietnam a friendly and attractive destination, affirming the position of the tourism industry on the regional and world tourism map.”