Vietnam Time

7/14/2017 1:52:59 PM

Vietnam: Stunning, fast-rising Asian country you should visit before it's too popular

(VNF) - With Vietnam looking to develop tourism into a key driver of economic growth, the U.S. travel site thrillist.com is urging travellers to check out the best of the country before it is too late.

Ha Giang province, Vietnam. (Photo: minhq.18)

A piece by Canadian writer Lewis Kelly published on New York-based travel site thrillist.com names Vietnam as one of the “the stunning, fast-rising Asian country you should visit before it's too popular”  and provides a list of must-see sites in the country.

“Many of the thousands of tourist boats that traverse Ha Long Bay each day dump untreated sewage into its beautiful waters,” she wrote.

It is potentially the perfect bucket list for first-timers to Vietnam, and includes the world famous Ha Long Bay, Hoi An, royal tombs and temples in Hue, Ho Chi Minh City’s Notre Dame Cathedral and Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Sa Pa in the northern highlands, and the Ban Gioc Waterfall on the Chinese border.

“It’s not as overrun as other regional destinations like Thailand, yet. But with incredible cuisine -- and stunning scenery like this -- that’s not likely to last,” she recommed.

The country’s tourism industry earned VND 400 trillion (USD 17.6 billion) in 2016.

A floating market in the Mekong delta.

With visa waiver policies for several large markets in Asia and Europe, the industry hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors and make USD 35 billion per year by 2020, contributing 10 percent to the country’s GDP compared to the current 7.5 per cent.

Foreign arrivals to Viet Nam rose 30.2 per cent to 6.2 million in the first six months and the figure is likely to hit 13 million this year.

This is impressive growth thanks to a series of policies adopted by the Party and State, said Nguyen Van Tuan, Director-General of the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism.

In June this year, the National Assembly approved amendments in Law on Tourism, in a bid to create breakthroughs in facilitating tourism development.

In addition, the Vietnamese Government began deploying e-visa program since February this year for citizens from 40 countries with initial positive outcomes.

The Government has also extended visa exemption for citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belarus until June 30th, 2018, thus tourist inflows from these markets increased by around 20 per cent.

An Binh Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau. (Photo: thuy.xu.xi)

Earlier, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ranked Vietnam seventh in the list of the world’s top 20 fastest growing travel destinations.

Vietnam has been named as one of the world’s top tourist destinations several times in the past, such as the top 10 cheapest countries to travel in 2016 (voted by The Richest, the US), the top ideal countries for backpacking tourism in 2016 (by Rough Guides, the UK), and the top eco-friendly tourist destinations (by travel experts from Boundless Journeys and Adventure Life)./.

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