The National Assembly’s approval of a tourist e-visa extension, along with efforts from many ministries and sectors, and new breakthrough policies, are expected to have a positive effect on Vietnam’s tourism market in the coming time.
Vietnam aims to serve at least 8 million international holidaymakers in 2023. The Government and relevant ministries have taken specific measures to ramp up tourism in an effective and sustainable manner.
International arrivals surge
After more than two years of stagnation due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening borders to international visitors from March 15, 2022 was a precise and timely policy from the Party and the State to boost the tourism recovery.
In 2022, Vietnam’s tourism achieved significant results, attracting 3.5 million international visitors and serving over 101 million domestic tourists. The industry recorded a total revenue of approximately 21 billion USD. These achievements marked a crucial milestone in the recovery and growth of the sector.
Vietnam has been honoured by the World Travel Awards as a top destination in the region and the world for its natural beauty, culture and culinary heritage, as well as for sustainable development, and as a golf destination.
Following the recovery momentum of 2022, in the first six months of 2023, Vietnam’s tourism industry recorded impressive gains. The country received nearly 5.6 million international visitors, reaching 70% of the plan set for the year, with those from certain markets surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
The sector also served 64 million domestic visitors in this period, earning a total revenue from 343 trillion VND (14.5 billion USD).
According to the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Republic of Korea (RoK) is the largest international market for Vietnam’s tourism, with over 1.6 million visitors out of a total of nearly 5.6 million international arrivals in the first six months of the year, equivalent to nearly 80% of the pre-pandemic level.
Following the RoK are China, Taiwan (China), the US, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Australia.
Searches for Vietnamese tourism rise globally
The search volume for Vietnam’s tourism via Google’s market trend tracking tool has been increasing rapidly, ranking 6th in the world, indicating a strong recovery on the way.
As reported by the VNAT, with a growth rate of 10-25%, Vietnam was the only Southeast Asian nation listed in the top 10 destinations with the highest growth worldwide. Indonesia ranked 18th, Thailand 19th, Malaysia 21st, the Philippines 23rd and Singapore 30th.
This data indicates that the demand for tourism in Vietnam is recovering rapidly, at a much faster pace compared to other destinations in the region.
In recent times, many destinations in Vietnam have been praised and honoured by foreign media, increasing Vietnam’s attractiveness on the international tourism map.
The Independent recently hailed Vietnam as the most coveted tourist destination in Southeast Asia, saying that Vietnam is one of the top choices for British travelers thanks to its diverse natural beauty, alongside rich historical and cultural heritages as well as culinary cultures unique to each locality.
Meanwhile, the Traveldudes site introduced Vietnam as an impressive destination for those who like adventure travel, including scuba diving.
According to Traveldudes, scuba diving in Vietnam is a great experience because of the rich underwater landscape and thousands of kilometres of coastline.
Hanoi has been ranked first in the list of the top 20 trending cities for solo travel while Ho Chi Minh City ranked sixth, according to Travel Off Path and UK-based adventure travel company Explore Worldwide.
Canada-based magazine The Travel has revealed a list of the 10 cheapest countries to work remotely across the world, with Vietnam featured in the list.
Recently, Vietnamese tourism received more good news when the Michelin Guide stopped for the first time in Vietnam, honoring 103 restaurants and eateries on the world culinary map, with four of them awarded a prestigious Michelin Star.
Creating momentum for Vietnam tourism to take off
Achievements gained by the tourism industry in recent times are attributable to the direction of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the coordination of ministries and sectors, especially the response of localities in tourism development, and efforts made by the Government in solving policy problems.
In December last year, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chaired a conference to seek measures to attract more international tourists to Vietnam. In March this year, the PM presided over an online national conference on tourism, which is aimed at accelerating recovery and development of the sector.
In May 2023, the Prime Minister issued Resolution No. 82/NQ-CP on the main tasks and solutions to accelerate tourism recovery and development.
Identified as a key economic sector, tourism has received much attention from the Government in recent years.
On June 24, the National Assembly approved the extension of e-visa from 30 days to 90 days for international visitors to Vietnam, valid for multiple entry during the period; and citizens from countries unilaterally exempted from visas by Vietnam are granted temporary residence for 45 days, from 15 days previously.
This policy, to be effective as of August 15, 2023, is expected to help boost the recovery of Vietnam tourism, and create breakthroughs for the industry.
The government is also considering to expand the unilateral visa exemption to lure international tourism arrivals to Vietnam.
Hoang Nhan Chinh, head of the Secretariat of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) said that Vietnam’s new visa policy may help the country welcome 12 million foreign tourists this year, far surpassing the target of 8 million set previously.
Travel experts around the world forecast that 2023 will witness strong growth in international travel demand. Vietnam tourism is not out of this trend. The positive signals recorded in recent times are the basis and motivation for Vietnam’s tourism to take off in the near future./.