Tourism in Vietnam

Tourism in Vietnam is a component of the modern Vietnamese economy. In 2019, Vietnam received 18 million international arrivals, up from 2.1 million in the year 2000. The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism is following a long-term plan to diversify the tourism industry, which brings foreign exchange into the country.[1]

Hội An a trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
The Golden Bridge at Bana Hills
A Cable Car station located in Sapa, Fansipan: the highest mountain in the Indochinese Peninsula.
The Hang Sơn Đoòng is the largest known cave passage in the world by volume. It is so large it contains its own subterranean Forest and ecosystem.
The Gate leading to the Marble Mountains a popular tourist destination.
Ban Gioc Falls Giant Waterfalls located in Northern Vietnam.
Bái Đính Temple a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam.

Hạ Long Bay
Imperial City, Huế the former imperial capital of Vietnam.

Tourist arrivals in Vietnam have continued to rise in recent years. In 2008, Vietnam received 4.218 million international tourists, in 2009 the number was 3.8 million, down 11%. In 2012, Vietnam received 6.84 million tourists.[2] This was a 13% increase from 2011 figure of 6 million international visitors, which was itself a rise of 2 million visitors relative to 2010 arrivals. In 2016, Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors which represented a 26% increase from the previous year.[3][4]

Tourism in the economy

Tourism is important in Vietnam. For backpackers, culture and nature lovers, beach-lovers, military soldiers and veterans, Vietnam has become a new tourist destination in Southeast Asia. Local and international tour operators offer tours to ethnic minority groups, walking and bicycle tours, photography tours, kayak trips and multi-country trips in particular with neighboring Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Foreign tourists have been able to travel freely in the country since 1997.

The economy of Vietnam has transformed from an agrarian to a service economy. More than a third of gross domestic product is generated by services, which include the hotel and catering industry and transportation. The manufacturing and construction (28 percent), agriculture and fisheries (20 percent) and mining (10 percent) have much smaller shares.[5]

Tourism contributes 4.5 percent to gross domestic product (as of 2007). After heavy industry and urban development, most foreign investment in Vietnam has been concentrated in tourism, especially in hotel projects.[6] According to usual report of World Tourism and Travel Council, tourism contributed 6.6 percent to GDP equal VND 279,287 billion (03/2016) which has important contribution promoting development of related sectors such as transportation, entertainment, cuisine etc.

Tourism statistics

International visitors

Data source: Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism[7]

3/20203,686,7791.9% [8]
201918,008,59116.2% [8]
201815,497,79119.9% [9]

Top 29 International Visitors in Vietnam

Data Source: Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism[3][11]

1 China871,8195,806,4254,966,4684,008,2532,696,8481,780,9181,947,2361,907,7941,428,6931,416,804
2 South Korea819,0894,290,8023,485,4062,415,2451,543,8831,112,978847,958748,727700,917536,408
3 Russia244,966646,524606,637574,164433,987338,843364,873298,126174,287101,600
4 Japan200,346951,962826,674798,119740,592671,379647,956604,050576,386481,519
5 Taiwan192,216926,744714,112616,232507,301438,704388,998398,990409,385361,051
6 United States172,706746,171687,226614,117552,644491,249443,776432,228443,826439,872
7 Thailand*125,725509,802349,310301,587266,984214,645246,874268,968225,866181,820
8 Cambodia*120,430227,910202,954222,614211,949227,074404,159342,347331,939423,440
9 Malaysia*116,221606,206540,119480,456407,574346,584332,994339,510299,041233,132
10 Australia92,227383,511386,934370,438320,678303,721321,089319,636289,844289,762
11 United Kingdom81,433315,084298,114283,537254,841212,798202,256184,663170,346156,300
12 France74,480287,655279,659255,369240,808211,636213,745209,946219,721211,444
13 Germany61,465226,792213,986199,872176,015149,079142,34597,673106,06845,000
14 Singapore*51,726308,969286,246277,658257,041236,547202,436195,760196,225172,500
15 Canada41,807159,121149,535138,242122,929105,670104,291104,973113,563TBA
16 Philippines*36,969179,190151,641133,543110,96799,757103,403100,50199,192TBA
17 Laos*36,81098,492120,009141,588137,004113,992136,636122,873150,678118,500
18 Sweden21,85750,70449,72344,04537,67932,02532,46631,49335,735TBA
19 Indonesia*21,446106,68887,94181,06569,65362,24068,62870,39060,857TBA
20 Netherlands18,26581,09277,30072,27764,71252,96749,12047,41345,862TBA
21 Italy17,77470,79865,56258,04151,26540,29136,42732,14331,337TBA
22 Denmark14,44442,04339,92634,72030,99627,41427,02925,64927,970TBA
23 Spain11,78383,59777,07169,52857,95744,93240,71633,18331,305TBA
24  Switzerland10,84536,57734,54133,12331,47528,75029,73828,42328,740TBA
25 Finland9,99421,48022,78518,23615,95315,04313,83114,66016,204TBA
26 New Zealand9,47047,08849,85449,11542,58831,96033,12030,95726,621TBA
27 Norway8,95828,03726,13424,29323,11021,42522,70821,15719,928TBA
28 Belgium7,45234,18731,38229,14426,23123,93923,22721,57218,914TBA
29 Hong Kong3,78051,61862,20847,72134,613TBA14,60110,23213,383TBA

* Country in ASEAN

Destinations and attractions

Hotel Metropôle Hanoi

National parks of Vietnam

Vietnam has 31 national parks: Ba Bể, Ba Vì, Bạch Mã, Bái Tử Long, Bến En, Bidoup Núi Bà, Bù Gia Mập, Cát Bà, Cát Tiên, Chư Mom Ray, Chư Yang Sin, Côn Đảo, Cúc Phương, Hoàng Liên, Kon Ka Kinh, Lò Gò-Xa Mát, Cape Cà Mau, Núi Chúa, Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng, Phú Quốc, Phước Bình, Pù Mát, Tam Đảo, Tràm Chim, U Minh Hạ, U Minh Thượng, Vũ Quang, Xuân Sơn, Xuân Thủy, Yok Đôn.

World Heritage Sites

Thiên Đường Cave in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, Quảng Bình Province

Huế, Hội An, Mỹ Sơn (Quảng Nam Province), Hạ Long Bay (Quảng Ninh Province), Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park (Quảng Bình Province), Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long (Hanoi) and Citadel of the Hồ Dynasty (Thanh Hóa Province). Hạ Long Bay is one of New Seven Natural Wonders of the world.

Man and the Biosphere Programme

Vietnam has eight zones that are world biosphere reserves: Red River Delta (Ninh Bình, Nam Định, Thái Bình), Cát Bà National Park (Hai Phong), western Nghệ An, Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, Cape Cà Mau National Park (Cà Mau), Cát Tiên National Park (Đồng Nai) and Cần Giờ (Ho Chi Minh City).[citation needed]

National tourist area

Vietnam now has 21 national tourist areas, major tourist sites that are state recognized:

Sa Pa (Lào Cai), Ba Bể (Bắc Kạn), Hạ Long BayCát Bà Island (Quảng Ninh, Hai Phong), Ba Vì National Park (Hanoi), Perfume Pagoda (Hanoi), Cổ Loa Citadel (Hanoi), Tam Cốc-Bích Động (Ninh Bình), Kim Liên (Nghệ An), Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park (Quảng Bình), Ho Chi Minh trail (Quảng Trị), Lăng CôHải Vân PassNon Nuoc (Thừa Thiên–Huế and Da Nang), Hội An (Quảng Nam), Van Phong Bay (Khánh Hòa), Phan ThiếtMũi Né (Bình Thuận), Dankia – Yellow Springs, Tuyền Lâm Lake (Lâm Đồng), Cần Giờ Mangrove Forest (Ho Chi Minh City), Côn Đảo (Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu), Long Hai beach (Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu), Phú Quốc (Kiên Giang), Biosphere Reserve Cape Cà Mau (Cà Mau).


Since 2014, Hanoi has consistently been voted in the world's top ten destinations by TripAdvisor. It ranked 8th in 2014,[12] 4th in 2015[13] and 8th in 2016.[14]

In 2014, Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City appeared in TripAdvisor's 2014 Traveler's Choice Awards for the top 25 destinations in Asia. Hanoi was ranked second, Hoi An tenth and Ho Chi Minh City eighteenth.[15] In 2017, Đà Lạt is in the list of Asia's overlooked places by the CNN.

International tourist arrivals

International airports

Air travel is the most popular form of travel for international arrivals to Vietnam; in 2013, nearly 6 million of the 7.6 million total international arrivals were by air.[16]

Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which serves Ho Chi Minh City, is the busiest airport with the largest visitor volume. On the other hand, Noi Bai International Airport, serving Hanoi, is the largest airport in terms of land area and total capacity after its opening of the modern international terminal. Other major airports include Da Nang International Airport, Cam Ranh International Airport and Cat Bi International Airport.

COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnam has suspended issuance of all tourist visa since March 2020, as of September 2020, the country is still closed for foreign tourists,[17] with plans to reopen for tourism from a limited number of Asian countries.[18]

Military tourism

An American tourist crawling through the Cu Chi tunnels,constructed by the Viet Cong Guerrilla forces during the Vietnam War, now a popular tourist destination.
Mỹ Sơn: Ancient Champa Hindu temples in Central Vietnam.

Throughout thousands of years, wars played a great role in shaping the identity and culture of people inhabited the land which is modern day Vietnam,

There are numerous historical sites from Ancient Vietnam to the First Indochina War and the Second Indochina War.

Most Notable Ancient Sites Include;

Most Notable places from the First and Second Indochina War (Vietnam War) for tourists are;

Volunteer tour programs

Various tour groups, including Saigon Hotpot, Dana Dragon Free, Hanoi Kids, offer free travel guides for foreign travelers.


While Vietnam is largely a safe country to travel, scams remain as a problem in the country. Vietnamese tourist industry, despite its successful expansion, has been marred with the issue of fake taxis, money switch, thieving. These concerns have hindered the opportunity to further boost Vietnam's tourism.[20]

Externalities tourism in Vietnam

Travelling and tourism around the world have increased, mainly thanks to growling interest from China’s middle hierarchy. Southeast Asia is an attractive tourist destination in recent years, which bolstered economic opportunities for countries located there. Vietnam benefited greatly from such a trend. The tourism demand right before the COVID pandemic was projected to grow yearly roughly by 4 per cent (2019-2029).[21] While the outlook will most likely not reach this target, we can expect a very volatile outcome that will most likely not be able to meet the estimated growth. Even then, in the year 2018, the Southeast Asia tourist destination had over 130 million international visitors.[22] (9.3 per cent of total global international visitor flows), and the region’s share of the worldwide market is expected to expand further to 10.4 per cent by 2030 (or 187 million visitors).[23] At the same time, nobody can predict how the Chinese outbound travellers confidence in travelling will be affected. Before the pandemic, the Chinese outbound travellers had a growth of 21.7% annually between 2012 and 2017.[24]

Vietnam is a very popular tourist destination thanks to its diverse nature and culture. According to the World Economic forum's (WEF), Vietnam ranked 32nd globally in one of 120 countries with reference to its natural and folk sources and followed Indonesia and Thailand is among the Southeast Asia region in the latest 2017 Tourism Competitiveness Index. Vietnam can offer tourists a broad range of activities, starting from eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, various beautiful oceans and beaches. There are cities such as Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang that can offer fulfilling nightlife, shopping malls, and rich and diverse street food cuisine for urban lovers.

In addition, the Government of Vietnam is prioritizing tourism as a critical target to drive socio-economic development. The aim is to make Vietnam a top destination in Southeast Asia. To achieve the goal, the government is now preparing an innovative tourism strategy for the period 2018 to 2030 to spur the development of the tourism industry in the next decade. Many countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, focus on tourism development on their economic development plan. Vietnam had acquired a surge in domestic and international tourism in over ten years, thanks to its strategy of focusing on market segments where it has a competitive advantage. Specifically, the number of multinational tourists to Vietnam had approximately quadrupled from 4.2 million in 2008 to 15.5 million in 2018.[25] International arrivals increase to 25% from an average of around 9% per year, so travel transport industries such as airline and road also significantly increased. With domestic tourists, strong growth is what the government captures the growing demand for tourism in the region. For foreign tourists, the growth is more prominent than other rival countries in Southeast Asia, with the exception of Myanmar. As a result, Vietnam has been and is a bright spot on the world's tourist map, which is comparable to famous tourist countries in Asia such as Thailand, China, and Japan.

Despite these benefits, the tourism industry in Vietnam still has critical weaknesses in its relatively competitive aspect. The government's allocation of spending to the tourism sector is relatively low at 1.4% of total government spending in 2017. Although the tourism industry is strategically important, the vision for change in the tourism industry has not changed significantly. Indiscriminate disposal of waste, protection of marine life, forest animals, and environmental pollution are the issues that seriously affect this smokeless industry. Another major hurdle associated with foreign tourists is the visa regime. The government is still not open to the problem of visas as only 24 countries in the world are exempt from permits, which reduces the attraction of people to Vietnam [26]

However, the Covid-19 pandemic strongly affected Vietnam's tourism as all international commercial flights were banned from landing at all international airports in Vietnam. International tourists, the primary source of revenue for the tourism industry, have declined dramatically in the past year. The number of flights in October 2020 decreased by 80% compared to the same period last year. Hotel room capacity is only 30%. The inability of foreign tourists to come to Vietnam has a massive impact on the revenue of the tourism industry and the economy, as this group spends much more heavily than domestic tourists. In 2019, the tourism industry accounts for 12% of the country's GDP,[27] international visitors only 17% but more than half: on average, each foreign tourist spends 673 USD, while domestic tourists only spend 61 USD. The tourism industry created 660 thousand jobs in the period 2014-2019.[28] and the drop in tourist spending also brought the food, beverage and retail industries into a dire situation.

The government giving to the good control of the Covid-19 epidemic with the policy of "0 cases in the community".[29] Domestic stimulus programs not only target Vietnamese but also foreigners living permanently in the country. Vietnam has attracted responses from travel companies, tourism businesses and from localities across the country. Tourism products aimed at human health, sports tourism, medical treatment, ecology, yoga, and nature-friendly tourism are becoming more and more attractive, so domestic tourists are getting more and more attractive. Now there are many options and at ease to travel.

See also


  1. Vietnam country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (December 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. TITC. "Vietnam National Administration of Tourism". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  3. "International visitors to Vietnam in December and 12 months of 2011". Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  4. "Statistics for 2010". General Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  5. Painter, Martin (August 2003). "Public administration reform in Vietnam: problems and prospects". Public Administration and Development. 23 (3): 259–271. doi:10.1002/pad.249. ISSN 0271-2075.
  6. "Wirtschaftsentwicklung Vietnam 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  7. "Tourism Statistics". Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  8. "Tourism Statistics". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  9. "Tourism Statistics". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  10. "Tourism Statistics". Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  11. "International visitors to Viet Nam in December and 12 months of 2018". Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  12. Life (8 April 2014). "TripAdvisor's Most Popular Travel Destinations". Business Insider. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  13. "TripAdvisor's picks: World's top 25 destinations | CNN Travel". 24 March 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  14. "TripAdvisor picks world's top 10 destinations – | CNN Travel". 22 March 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  15. "Best Destinations in Asia – Travelers' Choice Awards – TripAdvisor". Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  16. TITC (26 December 2013). "International visitors to Viet Nam in December and 12 months of 2013 – Vietnam National Administration of Tourism". Tổng cục Du lịch Việt Nam. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  19. "Vietnam War Sites of Interest". TripSavvy. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  20. Pike, Matthew. "11 Common Tourist Scams to Avoid in Vietnam". Culture Trip. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  21. "WTTC. 2019. Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2019: World"
  22. "UNWTO. 2019. World Tourism Barometer"
  23. "UNWTO. 2011. Towards Tourism 2030"
  24. "UNWTO. 2018. Outbound Tourism Statistics Database"
  25. "Vietnam General Statistics Office (GSO)">"GENERAL STATISTICS OFFICE". Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  26. "MyVietnamVisa". Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  27. "Total revenue from tourists 2000 - 2018""Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism". Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  28. "Global economic trends & impacts in 2020""World Travel & Travel Council (WTTC)". Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  29. "Our world data". Retrieved 29 April 2021.