Vietnam’s ‘Timeless Charm’ attracts culture-seeking Brits


More British travellers are heading to Vietnam in response to the country’s on-going tourism development strategy. 
Eight million international tourists visited Vietnam in 2014, 1.2 million of whom were from Europe, representing a 15% year on year increase from this source market, revealed Mary McKeon, the team leader of the EU-funded project known as the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme Vietnam.Relaxed visa rules, brand new infrastructure, upscale hotels and a successful on-going destination branding campaign dubbed ‘Timeless Charm’ were all factors driving an increase in the number of discerning UK holidaymakers visiting this unexplored Asian gem, a panel of the country’s top tourism professionals told media at this week’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

Of those visitors, 202,256 were from the UK, which is Vietnam’s second biggest European source market.

Brits stayed an average of 12 nights in Vietnam in 2014 and their average spend per trip was US$1,348 said McKeon, emphasising that the destination’s rich culture was a key draw card.

“The UK is now a visa-free country – one of five European countries with this status – which is making it much easier to visit Vietnam,” she said. “Vietnam is also a very safe country and this is something we want to promote, as well as our beautiful scenery and tourism facilities.”

McKeon stressed how Vietnam had invested in a number of significant tourism-related infrastructure projects to further boost its appeal.

New developments include an expressway linking Hanoi to Lao Cai, reducing the journey time by car between the two destinations to four hours. Hanoi’s new Noi Bai International Airport also opened for business earlier this year, she said.

“Looking ahead to 2016 the hot new destination in Vietnam is Phu Quoc Island,” McKeon revealed. “This will appeal to the Western European market in particular.”

Well-known Asian hotel brands including Six Senses and Vin Pearl are set to open properties on Phu Quoc.

They are just two top-end hotel companies putting Vietnam on the world map with the likes of Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton also opening new properties, McKeon stressed.

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