Big love affair continues

April 17, 2011 | 21:48
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Vietnam’s alluring charms are proving a big magnet for foreign travelers.
Vietnam’s various charms and turning the heads of more tourists

Australia’s Expedia Australia Press Centre, a comprehensive source of travel-related news and reports, said in its Expedia HiFX Foreign Exchange Index released last week that Asia was the best value-for-money region in the world. Meanwhile, Vietnam is “the best-value destination for Aussie travelers, with the Australian dollar appreciating by over 23 per cent against the Vietnamese dong in the past 12 months.”

Expedia HiFX Foreign Exchange Index measures currency fluctuations against the Australian dollar to find the best-value destinations for travelers.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said that Australia was one of Vietnam’s key tourism markets. In 2010, Vietnam received 278,200 Australian tourist arrivals, up 28.1 per cent against 2009.

Meanwhile, according to the latest research report “Vietnam Tourism Industry Forecast to 2012” conducted and released in April by RNCOS, a global leading market research company, foreign tourist arrivals in Vietnam would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 11 per cent during 2010-2014, and tourism receipts from overseas tourists were expected to augment at a CAGR of around 13 per cent during the same period, thereby reaching around $5.6 billion by 2014.

The report said that Vietnam had emerged as one of the most popular tourist destinations in ASEAN thanks to its exquisite landscape, fast developing hospitality services and stable political environment.

The country’s tourism industry occupied 9.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Vietnamese economy last year, according to the report, which said that being a source as well as destination market, the Vietnamese tourism industry had grown nearly twice as fast as GDP over the past few years.

According to the Pacific Asia Travel Association statistics for preliminary international visitor arrivals into Asia-Pacific for January 2011, which was released in late last month, Vietnam ranked second in Southeast Asia for foreign arrival growth.

Myanmar ranked first with a growth rate of 27 per cent, followed by Vietnam (22 per cent), Cambodia (18 per cent), the Philippines (17 per cent), Singapore (16 per cent), Thailand (12 per cent) and Indonesia (11 per cent).

“Vietnam’s tourism industry will continue to grow rapidly in coming years on the back of its favorable demographic profile and increasing promotional activities by the government,” the RNCOS report said.

The VNAT reported that in 2010, Vietnam ranked fourth in terms of tourism growth globally. Between 2001-2010, the number of foreign tourist arrivals to Vietnam rose from 2.1 million to a record figure of over five million, while the industry’s revenue augmented from $128.2 million to over $5 billion.

In 2010 alone, while Vietnam’s foreign tourist arrivals soared by 34.8 per cent, that of the world was merely 4 per cent.

“Vietnam will likely be visited by 5.3-5.5 million foreign tourists in 2011 with revenue of $5.64 billion,” said VNAT head Nguyen Van Tuan.

Tuan said that the industry would continue its big promotion programmes and campaigns at home and abroad, in which more new markets would also be explored with bigger investment.

“We implementing a project to highlight Vietnam’s tourism images in France, China, Japan, South Korea, ASEAN and Russia,” he said.

In February this year, Visa and Pacific Asia Travel Association released their Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey 2010, which included 6,714 respondents from 13 countries and territories.

The survey said that among all the future inbound tourists who were most likely to visit Vietnam in the next two years, 17 per cent were from Thailand, 16 per cent were from Australia and 11 per cent were from Japan and Singapore.

By Thanh Tung

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