With over 3,400 km of tropical coastline, incredible food, and a fierce cultural pride, Vietnam is a country ripe for travel and exploration opportunities. For 11 months of 2015, Vietnamese tourism has received more than 7 million international arrivals, up from 6.8 million in 2014.
Since opening up to tourism in the early nineties, Vietnamese tourism has seen spectacular growth. But that doesn’t mean that all the avenues of opportunity are well trodden, as this dynamic industry is seeing scores of new trends each year. Here we detail some of the most important …
- Culinary Tourism
For any food-lover out there, Vietnam is heaven on Earth. From mouthwatering street food to sumptuous 5-star banquets, the variety of Vietnamese culinary experiences means exciting opportunities for food tourism to flourish, from one-day food tours to country-wide culinary exploration.
- Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism
Tourism has contributed to the economic miracle in seen in Vietnam, but it has also lead to biodiversity deterioration. As a result, the demand for more environmentally friendly tourism is rising, calling for more investment in sustainable travel. Ecolodges like Topaz (Sapa) or Cao Son (Lao Cai) are doing very well by ensuring their accommodation has minimum impact on the surrounding areas.
- Adventure Tourism
If studying the local ecosystem is not your thing, Vietnam’s geographical diversity can offer unforgettable camping and trekking tours. From climbing “The Roof of Indochina” – Fansipan mountain – to challenging the recently discovered Son Doong cave in Phong Nha National Park, adventure tourism is experiencing explosive growth and unprecedented international attraction in Vietnam.
- Day Trips for Busy People
With an influx of foreigners working in Vietnam and an increased number of local people looking for weekend relaxation after a busy week, day tours or weekend breaks are becoming increasingly popular. Around Hanoi, hot springs like Kim Boi and Thanh Thuy, coupled with spa packages are seeing increasing popularity.
- Luxury Retreat
As Vietnamese living standards are rising, consumers are willing to pay more for travelling with good service, and luxury retreat is the new black in Vietnamese tourism. Instead of opting for the cheapest option available, people are beginning to look more at luxury options, such as mountain villas and private beach houses.
Phuot is one of the newer trends in Vietnamese tourism, especially amongst the younger generation. We define phuot loosely as riding your motorbike around the country on unpaved and dirt roads and let these roads lead us to the most beautiful landscapes of Vietnam. Phuot is still an untapped market that has huge potential growth: budget hotels or Airbnb-style rooms for rent, motorbikes for rent and motorbike maintenance along the roads well-travelled by ‘phuot people.’
- Travelling According to the Flower Seasons
Sounds peculiar, but for the past three years, travelling the northern loop of Vietnam in time for certain flower seasons is trending. In November 2015, Ha Giang province hosted the very first Buckwheat Flower Festival, which drew more than 60,000 tourists to this mountainous province. This influx of tourists, especially couples and families, means there is more demand for high quality accommodation such as mountain retreats and luxury homestays surrounding the flower fields.
- The Beach!
Once you’re in Vietnam, its 3,400km coastline is not to be missed. Tourism along the coastline has been booming for the past decade and it shows no sign of slowing down. However, the market is shifting from the well-known beach heaven of Nha Trang to other cities and islands that still have a lot potential growth in terms of private beaches and undisturbed areas like Danang, Phu Quoc, Co To and Ly Son.
- Stay (with) locals, be locals
Culture doesn’t make people, people create culture. And any better way to discover a culture other than staying with the local people? Homestays are becoming the go-to options for tourists on a budget who want to scratch a little deeper. Staying in a homestay can be cheaper than in a hotel, plus you can be a part of the local family to fully understand the culture of where you are.
Mu Cang Chai’s golden rice terraces (Photo credit: Yuki Phan)
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