According to official data from the Vietnam General Statistics Office, the country has received 11.6 million foreign tourists between January and November of this year, an increase of 28% against the same period in 2016. Based upon projections, by the end of December, the country could receive 12.8 million visitors.
There are a number of factors that are contributing to Vietnam’s tourism increase and these are a greater awareness of the country due to a variety of marketing and media factors during the last 2-years and a relaxation in visa policies which has allowed visitors from 40 countries to apply for visas online has made entry to the country easier and the governments waivers for select countries has made tourism more economical for many.
The increased media focus on Vietnam goes back to 2016 with the New York Times listing Vietnam as “a place to travel to in your 20’s”; the filming of the feature movie “Kong: Skull Island” in Vietnam; and the central seaside town of Hoi An being selected by TripAdvisor users as one of the world’s top destinations in 2017.
A United Nations World Tourism Organization report published in July 2017 listed Vietnam as the seventh fastest in the world, and the only destination in Southeast Asia to make the top 10. By the year 2020 the country is expecting 17 ~ 20 million visitors. The tourism sector is expected to generate $35 billion USD per year by that time, contributing to 20% of the county’s economy.
Tourism growth should continue to increase during 2018 as an additional six countries have just been added to the e-visa list bringing the total to 46 counties. The new additions are Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.A.E.
To make sure that Vietnam stays “top of mind”, the government has recently approved a “development fund” for tourism that will be sourced from visa fees and will include an annual budget of $2.5 million USD from the government for tourism promotions at both international trade fairs and through mass media and social media marketing.