Australian Travellers Boost Vietnam Visitor Arrivals

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Thursday, 25 November 2010

Vietnam's status as one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing tourism destinations is reflected in new statistics that illustrate Australian visitors are flocking to the country like never before.

Ho Chi Minh city's Caravelle Hotel has seen a twofold increase in visitors from Australia this year while the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in the North has reported a 48% rise over the past 12 months.

On the central coast, the Nam Hai resort has also witnessed a significant upsurge in visitors from Australia, too, reporting a 69% increase in Australian occupants through the first eight months of the year.

The phenomena is reinforced by VNAT, which has reported a 128% rise in Australian visitor numbers in 2010 the greatest percentage increase of inbound arrivals from non-Asian countries.

The trend appears unlikely to be a flash in the pan either. The results of the Asia Pacific Travel Intentions Survey, a major poll conducted by Visa and PATA, shows an impressive 16% of Australians canvassed plan to visit Vietnam in the coming two years.

"Australia escaped the worst of the global downturn and its dollar is relatively robust, which means Aussies are traveling as much as they have ever done," said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole Hanoi. "What's more, Australia has been one of our priority markets in recent years. We have representation at all the big travel trade shows there and I think it's fair to say that our efforts in marketing the hotel are really starting to reap rewards."

John Gardner, the Caravelle's general manager, concurs with the view that an increased focus on the Australian market is paying dividends. He also believes Vietnam is finally beginning to rival traditional regional heavyweights such as Thailand and Indonesia in the eyes of holidaymakers.

"Thailand is beginning to recover after the recent turmoil," Gardner said. "But throughout that stumble, and troubles elsewhere, Vietnam has sharpened its profile as the region's most safe and secure destination. Safety and security is far more top of mind for travelers today than it was 10 long years ago."

Gardner also points to other factors that are boosting the country's reputation in Australia - its solidifying infrastructure and its value for money.

"As well, Vietnam is catering to a wide variety of customers from business visitors to traditional sun-seekers who are steering toward an array of resorts opening throughout the country," he said.

Also significant in the opinion of travel industry insiders is the improvement in air links between Vietnam and Australia. Low-cost carrier Jetstar operates regular flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Australia's major conurbations, while competition between other airlines means that traveling to Vietnam has never been more cost effective.

"I think Australian interest in Vietnam has grown for a number of reasons," said Damien Van Eyk, Australasian Sales Manager for Exotissimo Travel, a company that specializes in individually tailored trips within Southeast Asia. "The countrys relative proximity to Australia makes traveling to Vietnam very easy. I also think that word of mouth is a very important factor. As more Australians experience the sights, sounds and cuisine of Vietnam, they come home and share these experiences with their family and friends."

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