Vietnam propelled to SEA tourism frontrunner

Travel Guide

Vietnam, with its captivating landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, has emerged as a leading destination for international tourists in Southeast Asia. The country’s remarkable resilience, coupled with new visa policies, has propelled it ahead of several neighboring nations in attracting a growing number of visitors. In this article, we will explore Vietnam’s rise as a tourism frontrunner, highlighting its key attractions, the factors driving its success, and the potential challenges that lie ahead.

Vietnam, with its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant cities, and rich historical heritage, has captured the hearts of travelers from around the world. In recent years, the country has witnessed a significant surge in international tourist arrivals, outpacing its neighboring nations. This article delves into the factors behind Vietnam’s success as a tourism frontrunner and explores its potential for further growth.

Surpassing Neighboring Countries

Vietnam has made remarkable progress in attracting international tourists, with over 5.5 million visitors recorded during the January-June period. This figure represents 69% of the country’s eight-million target for the year. Notably, Vietnam has surpassed Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, which received 4.12 million visitors during the same period. Cambodia, another popular destination, recorded approximately 2.57 million international visitors. While Laos’ figures have yet to be released, the country welcomed around one million foreign visitors in the first four months of the year. Thailand remains the leader in the region, having welcomed 12.46 million foreign tourists so far.

The Power of Resilience

Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s tourism sector has shown remarkable resilience. Key source markets such as South Korea, China, the United States, and Europe have witnessed a strong comeback, contributing to the increasing number of foreign tourists. The growth of the Indian market has also played a significant role in Vietnam’s tourism resurgence. The country’s ability to adapt and recover amidst adversity has solidified its position as a compelling destination.

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Boost from International Media Attention

Vietnam has gained substantial international media attention, further bolstering its reputation as a must-visit destination. The filming of the Netflix movie “A Tourist’s Guide to Love” in popular tourist hotspots has garnered positive exposure for the country. This exposure has piqued the curiosity of travelers worldwide, inspiring them to explore the natural wonders and cultural treasures Vietnam has to offer.

Visa Policy Changes

The introduction of new visa rules has acted as a catalyst for Vietnam’s tourism growth. The National Assembly approved extending tourist e-visas from 30 to 90 days, along with prolonging visa-free periods for selected countries to 45 days. These policy changes, set to take effect from August 15, will make it easier for tourists to visit Vietnam, further driving the influx of visitors.

Vietnam’s Potential and Challenges

While Vietnam’s tourism industry has experienced significant success, certain challenges persist. Improving infrastructure, enhancing service quality, and ensuring environmental sustainability are areas that require continued attention. However, with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, Vietnam possesses a strong potential to become the leading tourism destination in Southeast Asia.

Affordable and Desirable Destination

Vietnam’s affordability makes it an attractive choice for travelers on a budget. With a range of affordable accommodation options, cheap food, and convenient transportation, the country offers excellent value for money. This affordability, coupled with its natural and cultural attractions, positions Vietnam as a desirable destination for a wide range of tourists.

Multi-Country Marketing Opportunities

As neighboring countries like Thailand and Indonesia tighten their visa policies, Vietnam’s relaxed visa requirements become a distinct advantage. International travelers are increasingly aware of the possibility of extended stays in Vietnam, which can be combined with visits to neighboring countries such as Laos and Cambodia. This multi-country marketing approach benefits Vietnam and strengthens its position in the ASEAN region.

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Shifting Visa Policies in the Region

Vietnam’s flexible visa policies stand in contrast to the recent visa policy changes in neighboring countries. Thailand and Indonesia have implemented stricter visa requirements, reducing the duration of visa-free stays. These policy shifts highlight Vietnam’s favorable conditions for tourists, attracting those seeking longer stays and offering opportunities for digital nomads and long-term travelers.

Record-Breaking Tourism Numbers

In 2019, Vietnam welcomed a record-breaking 18 million foreign tourists, marking the year before the onset of the pandemic as a milestone. Despite the challenges posed by the global health crisis, recent positive signs indicate that Vietnam is on track to exceed its target of 12 million foreign arrivals by the end of this year. The country’s ability to adapt and recover has instilled confidence in both travelers and industry experts.

Future Prospects

Vietnam’s tourism industry is poised for further growth, given its vast potential and the positive momentum it has gained. By addressing challenges such as infrastructure development, service quality enhancement, and environmental sustainability, Vietnam can solidify its position as a leading tourism destination in Southeast Asia. Continued promotion and strategic marketing efforts will play a vital role in attracting a diverse range of international tourists.


Vietnam’s ascendancy as a tourism frontrunner in Southeast Asia is a testament to its captivating attractions, resilient spirit, and strategic policy changes. The country’s ability to bounce back from the challenges of the pandemic, coupled with its diverse landscapes, cultural heritage, and affordable offerings, positions it as an ideal destination for travelers. With continued improvements in infrastructure, service quality, and sustainability, Vietnam is poised to fulfill its immense potential and become a leading force in the region’s tourism industry.

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1. Is Vietnam a safe country for tourists? Vietnam is generally considered a safe country for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, it is advisable to exercise caution and adhere to common-sense safety practices.

2. What are some must-visit attractions in Vietnam? Vietnam offers a wealth of attractions, including the stunning Halong Bay, the historic city of Hoi An, the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, and the picturesque landscapes of Sapa. These are just a few highlights among many others.

3. How can I apply for a visa to Vietnam? Visa requirements for Vietnam vary depending on your nationality. Some countries are eligible for visa-free entry, while others require a visa. You can apply for a visa through the official website of the Vietnam Immigration Department or consider using the new e-visa system.

4. What is the best time to visit Vietnam? The best time to visit Vietnam depends on the specific regions you plan to explore. Generally, the months of October to April offer pleasant weather in most parts of the country. However, it’s essential to research the weather conditions for the specific destinations you intend to visit.

5. Can I travel to Vietnam during the Covid-19 pandemic? Travel restrictions and requirements related to Covid-19 change regularly. It is crucial to stay updated on the latest travel advisories and guidelines issued by the Vietnamese government and relevant health authorities.