The number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam hit an all-time high of 18 million in 2019, up 16.2% year-on-year.
The tourism industry has also reaped an unprecedented harvest of global awards: the world’s top heritage destination award and Asia’s top culinary destination, for example, at the World Travel Awards (WTA); not to mention the world’s best golf destination at the international World Golf Awards.
The growth and prestige gained by the tourism industry has been attributed to government policies, including visa waivers for nationals of potentially important tourism markets, the launch of new direct flights, and the development of resorts and resorts. World-class entertainment facilities by large Vietnamese investors like Groupe Soleil.
From the transit point to the tourist hub
A little over 10 years ago, the central coastal city of Da Nang was a relatively unknown destination. In 2007, the city as a whole had fewer than 1,300 hotel rooms that could accommodate approximately one million domestic and international visitors. The local airport served primarily as a location for domestic flights that tourists took to other more famous destinations in central Vietnam.
The turning point came when the city government called on major investors to join the municipality and rejuvenate Da Nang. Responding to this bugle call, in 2007 Sun Group began developing a project in Ba Na – once a mountain retreat for French emigrants in colonial times, but long forgotten and considered accessible only by some intrepid travelers. .
A year later, the Sun World Ba Na Hills tourist and entertainment complex opened to the public, with a cable car transporting travelers from the base of the mountain. The impact was immediate. In 2009, over 1.3 million visitors came to Da Nang, setting a new arrivals record. With world-class services and entertainment, an upscale resort and a golf course, Ba Na Hills has continued to be a tourist attraction.
In 10 years, the resort has seen the number of tourists grow 160 times. In particular, when the iconic Golden Bridge opened in Ba Na Hills in 2018, Da Nang saw a huge spike in arrivals. Everyone wanted to check in on the Golden Bridge with their two divine hands surrounding the structure.
Sunshine Carnival is one of the entertainment attractions in Ba Na Hills.
In 2014, Sun Group unveiled its second groundbreaking investment in Da Nang – the InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort on the scenic Son Tra Peninsula. The resort has been named the world’s best luxury resort by the World Travel Awards for four consecutive years, from 2014 to 2017.
In the decade since Ba Na Hills opened, Da Nang’s tourism growth has been the envy of many other destinations. Last year, nearly 8.7 million visitors came to Da Nang, nearly five times more than in 2010; and tourism revenues reached 3097 trillion dong ($ 1.33 billion), or 25 times more.
Sa Pa regains its former glory
In early 2016, the Fansipan cable car opened as part of the Sun World Fansipan Legend tourist resort in Sa Pa, attracting the attention of travelers from all over the world. Invested and developed by Sun Group, the cable car set two world records by connecting the city of Sa Pa to the roof of Indochina, the summit of Fansipan, which rises 3,143 meters in the sky.
A true feat of engineering, the cable car immediately boosted tourist numbers in Sa Pa, but Sun Group had many other attractions to unveil, including the Muong Hoa funicular and a complex of Buddhist monuments that made Fansipan a landmark. spiritual destination. At the Sun World Fansipan Legend Resort, tourists can now learn about the unique cultural traditions of many hill tribes who have lived in the Northwest Mountains for centuries.
The cable car connecting the town of Sa Pa to Fansipan set two world records.
These investments have also given a boost to the city in the northern highlands. In 2013, Sa Pa received only 720,000 visitors and generated revenues of VND 576 billion ($ 24.77 million). In 2019, the number of visitors to Sa Pa had crossed 3.2 million, with revenues reaching 9.34 billion VND ($ 402 million), 16.2 times more than in 2013.
By 2019, when legend Sun World Fansipan was named Vietnam’s first tourist attraction and the world’s first cultural tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards, Sa Pa had become a globally recognized destination.
Quang Ninh – give a magical land its due
At the end of 1994, Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage Site. But Ha Long City and Quang Ninh Province have remained underdeveloped and unattractive to many tourists. For example, Bai Chay Beach in Ha Long was a dilapidated-looking waterfront. The standard of accommodation was very poor and there were no entertainment facilities.
That started to change in 2015, when Sun Group renovated Bai Chay and turned it into a beautiful beach with white sand and shady coconut palms. A year later, they opened the Sun World Halong Complex entertainment complex, which ended the long-held impression that the city was just a day trip destination. Tourists have now started to plan longer tours.
Van Don International Airport is invested and built by Sun Group in Quang Ninh province.
The group has also shown its sense of investment with key transport infrastructure projects that are now operational – Van Don International Airport, Ha Long International Cruise Port and the Ha Long – Van Expressway. Don. These have greatly increased access to Ha Long City in particular and Quang Ninh Province in general.
In 2019, the total number of tourist arrivals in Quang Ninh reached 14 million, including 5.7 million foreigners; and tourism revenues amounted to nearly 29.49 billion VND ($ 1.05 billion). Compare that with 2014, when the northern province welcomed 7.5 million visitors, including 2.6 million foreigners, generating 5.5 trillion dong ($ 237 million) in tourism revenue.
Complete an island paradise
The beauty of Phu Quoc Island has drawn comparisons with those of Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), Boracay (Philippines) and the Maldives. But five years ago, Phu Quoc was still off the radar for many travelers around the world. In 2014, the island received only 586,000 visitors, generating a turnover of approximately 2,200 billion VND ($ 94.6 million). The reality was that the island lacked world-class resorts to compete with other destinations.
After Phu Quoc opened its doors to hundreds of investors, including national companies like Sun Group and Vingroup, tourism flourished. Today, the island is home to the world’s first luxury resort and spa (JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay) and the world’s first beach villa resort (Premier Village Phu Quoc) and many other outstanding hotel complexes.
Visitors can now take the Hon Thom Cable Car – the longest over the sea cable car ride in the world – from the main island of Phu Quoc to Thom Islet to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Trao Beach and practice many water sports, and discover the most modern water park in Southeast Asia – Aquatopia.
JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay was named the world’s best luxury resort and spa by the World Travel Awards.
The impact of these world class resorts and amenities has been immense. In 2019, the number of tourists visiting Phu Quoc reached 5.1 million, nearly nine times the number of 2014. It is now a destination frequented by billionaires, celebrities and discerning luxury travelers.
Analyzing how Phu Quoc Island, Sa Pa, Quang Ninh and Da Nang have all been transformed in the eyes of the world, it is evident that the introduction of world-class resorts, entertainment complexes, cable car systems and other unique products played a decisive role. Without such developments, many beautiful places in Vietnam would be confined to the margins of the growth of global tourism.