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Tourism in Vietnam - worth $6.7bn - expect rapid growth

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A huge service export opportunity for Vietnam is tourism which contributes around $6.7bn a year to the national $134bn GDP.  Tourism is 66% of all service industry exports for Vietnam, yet is in its infancy.

Temple to Confucius in Hanoi Vietnam

The nation is very friendly, welcoming, fascinating and attractive, with an extraordinary history, wonderful food and culture, yet is still almost unknown to world travellers.

Vietnam has a spectacular coastline, and the largest cities offer an eclectic mix of architecture, heritage sites, restaurants and markets.

Tourist facilities are undeveloped at major city sites.  Of course, for many explorers from other nations, this is the particular attraction of Vietnam. There a feeling of humanity, peacefulness and of stepping back a little into a slower pace of living.  And money goes further in Vietnam than in many other countries.

Travel to Bangkok, or Shanghai and you may experience a culture shock - even more so in Singapore where "Old Asia" can be hard to find amongst the massive sparkling Shopping Malls and wide streets.

But in the tiny back streets of Hanoi, in the Old City, you can be lost for hours along passageways a metre or two wide, swept up in a world that has in some ways changed much less dramatically.  Tens of thousands of tiny family-owned retailers, selling, making, repairing, building, fixing, often spilling out onto the pavements.

The roads are full of motorbikes and taxis (and a few tourist rickshaws) - you will never be short of a ride.

A way to help tourists would be to increase opening times of museums and important heritage sites to every day, and to keep all tourist sites open during the lunch period.

Another big step would be to improve international signage, at the very least to ensure that every exhibit and direction is properly and fully translated into English. Many museums are set out through the lens of Vietnamese nationals, which is interesting but misses opportunities to embrace a wider audience. 

Take for example the Military Museum in Hanoi, which has an excellent set of exhibits and aircraft from the “American” Vietnam War, but almost zero narrative about the events which led to the conflict, and to its resolution, which nations were involved, at what scale, when and why, and no systematic detail about the major events in the war.

There is also huge potential to improve access and facilities in spectacular rural or coastal sites (without wrecking the eco-system). 

Expect Vietnam to develop tourism rapidly, doubling current spending from $6.7bn to over $14bn over the next 5-8 years.

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Thanks for promoting with Facebook LIKE or Tweet. Really interested to read your views. Post below.

August 27, 2015 - 11:54

I would love to include this article in my Bachelor Thesis, therefore I need citation facts, and I would like to know when this article was posted. Help would be much appreciated. Great article!
Thanks, Rosi

Reply to Rosi
Patrick Dixon
August 27, 2015 - 13:11

This article was written on 6th December 2012

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