2019 a year of new heights for Vietnamese tourism

Locations – December 30, 2019 | 19:51 GMT + 7

The Vietnamese tourism industry has received many prestigious awards and set new records in 2019.

Number of foreign tourists hits record high

Foreign tourists in Bui Vien Pedestrian Street, one of Saigon’s most popular hangouts. Photo by VnExpress / Quynh Tran.

The number of foreign tourists reached an all-time high of 18 million in 2019, up 16.2% year-on-year. 14.3 million or 79 percent of the total were Asian visitors, up 19 percent.

China remained the largest source of tourists, with 5.8 million (32%), followed by South Korea (4.3 million or 24%), Japan (952,000) and Taiwan (926,000) .

The growth has been attributed to government visa exemptions for nationals of potentially important tourism markets, the launch of a slew of new direct flights, and an increase in nightlife activities like shopping and entertainment.

First heritage destination in the world

Complex of monuments of Hue, a UNESCO heritage site. Photo by VnExpress / Vo Thanh.

Vietnam overtook rivals like Brazil, China, Egypt and Greece to be named the world’s first heritage destination for the first time at the World Travel Awards (WTA) in Oman in November.

This recognition justifies the country’s efforts to preserve its cultural heritage, the WTA said.

The country is home to eight UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Sites: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, My Son Sanctuary, Hoi An Ancient City, Hue Monument Complex, Ha Long Bay , the landscape complex of Trang An, the imperial citadel of Thang Long. , and the citadel of the Ho dynasty.

In recent years, heritage sites have won worldwide fame on several occasions.

Launched in 1993 and billed as “the equivalent of the Oscars in the travel industry” by The Wall Street Journal, the WTA awards are based on votes from the public and travel professionals around the world.

The best golf destination in the world

A golf course on the Ba Na Hills in downtown Da Nang. Photo courtesy of Ba Na Hills Golf Club.

For the first time, Vietnam received the award for the best golf destination in the world at the International World Golf Awards, as part of the World Travel Awards, which took place in the United Arab Emirates in October.

The country beat seven other nominees, Argentina, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal and South Africa to win the award. The World Golf Awards, the most prestigious in the golf tourism industry, have been awarded every year since 2014, based on votes from professionals and consumers.

According to the Vietnamese Professional Golf Association, more than 70,000 people played golf as a recreational sport in 2018, up from 10,000 in 2009. The country has more than 30 golf courses.

Asia’s premier culinary destination

Fresh summer rolls served at a market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress / Ma Lum.

Vietnam was crowned “Asia’s Best Culinary Destination” at the World Travel Awards (WTA) for Asia and Oceania in October. It was the first time the country had won this honor, although Vietnamese cuisine received considerable praise from international tourists and rave reviews from renowned travel magazines.

Graham Cooke, the founder of WTA, said Vietnamese cuisine has crossed the country’s borders and has become one of the “must try” experiences.

Google pays homage to 400-year-old Hoi An town

An aerial view of Hoi An, a UNESCO heritage site. Photo by Shutterstock / Hoang Anh.

On July 16, Google Doodle featured the ancient city of Hoi An on its homepage, making it the first Vietnamese destination to be honored in this way. This was to mark the traditional Lantern Festival, which was held on the 14th day of each lunar month.

An image of Hoi An in central Vietnam with Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge) symbols and colorful lanterns became the Google logo for the day.

The Google Doodle commemorates holidays, events, accomplishments, and people.

Hoi An was recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1998 and has become one of Vietnam’s top vacation destinations, attracting over five million visitors this year, including over four million foreigners.

The Pagoda Bridge, a national relic that appears on VND 20,000 bills, is an iconic landmark of the city that is 400 years old. It was built in the early 17th century by Japanese traders who once made up a large part of the city’s population.

Colorful floating lanterns are also a distinct feature of Hoi An where the lights are turned off during the Lantern Festival and the only light comes from the floating lanterns on the river.

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