Vietnam ranked 19th in a list of 40 most visited travel destinations this summer based on an analysis of flight bookings by Spain-based leading travel data & analytics company ForwardKeys.
The number of international visitors to Vietnam by air this summer was 28% lower than the same period before the Covid-19 pandemic but increased 12% over the same period last year, a ForwardKeys report said.
The U.S. was the most visited country this summer, followed by Spain and the U.K. Making up the top 10 destinations were Italy, Japan, France, Mexico, Germany, Canada and Turkey.
Thailand and Vietnam were the only two Southeast Asian destinations to break into the top 20, with the former ranking 14th.
To compile this list, the company analyzed summer flight booking data between July 1 and August 31.
According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam received 2.25 million international visitors in July and August, 80% of the figure during the same period in 2019. Of these, about 1.97 million visitors arrived by air, about 88% of pre-pandemic levels.
“Looking at the destinations which have done best against 2019 levels, the list is dominated by countries famous for their beaches and warm waters,” the report said.
“Throughout the pandemic, leisure travel to beach destinations proved to be the most resilient, with many highly tourism-dependent economies working hard to keep their borders open and the tourists coming; and their efforts have certainly paid off,” it added.
Given its 3,000-km coastline, Vietnam is well known for its long, sandy beaches.
The country’s tourism industry is on the path to recovery, having relaxed visa policies to lure more international visitors during the peak international tourism season that lasts from October to April next year.
Starting August 15, the Vietnamese government extended visa-free entry from 15 days to 45 days for passport holders from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. It has also extended the duration of e-visas from 30 days to three months with multiple entries.
Citizens of another 80 countries, including major economies such as India, Australia, and the U.S., are currently eligible to enter the country using an e-visa.
So far this year, Vietnam has welcomed 8 million international arrivals, already achieving its annual target. The country expects to receive about 12 million foreign visitors this year.
South Korea sent the highest number of visitors to Vietnam at 2.27 million, followed by China (almost 950,000) and the U.S. (502,000).
Nguyen Trung Khanh, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said the new visa policy was a big opportunity for Vietnam to attract more foreign visitors and improve Vietnam’s position on the global tourism map.
A series of international travel magazines have hailed Vietnam as a rising destination in Asia.
Vietnam received a record 18 million foreign tourists in pre-pandemic 2019.