Despite stagnation due to the nine-month global lockdown in 2020, prestigious international awards highlight Vietnam's global tourism standing.
The ranking of Vietnam's tourism industry has never been as stable as now. Currently, Vietnam is known not only as a destination favored for its natural beauty, including huge natural caves and spectacular bays, but also for its evolving, international-scale projects.
Vietnam now boasts world leading luxury resorts, Asia's leading theme park, and is honored as one of the most beautiful destinations globally, making it a prime destination for international billionaires, celebrities, and politicians.
Golden Bridge - Sun World Ba Na Hills. Photo by Sunworld
Many still recall the opening of Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) on Sun Group's Ba Na Hills in 2018. Media outlets including CNN, BBC, and Reuters, along with leading magazines like National Geographic, New York Times, and Time subsequently praised Golden Bridge as the most wonderful global destination in 2018.
Clear development strategies and international scale investment were key to transforming Vietnam's tourism industry over the past five to 10 years. In particular, with the participation of many large corporations, Vietnam has continually featured among the world’s leading destinations.
In early November, Vietnam surpassed China, Thailand, Cambodia and India as Asia's Leading Heritage Destination, Asia's Leading Cultural Destination, and Asia's Leading Culinary Destination by World Travel Awards Asia - the Oscars of the world tourism industry. In the aviation category, Vietnam Airlines was honored as Asia's Leading Airline - Economy Class, Asia's Leading Airline - Premium Economy Class, and Asia's Leading Cultural Airline.
Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
In the transport infrastructure category, Van Don International Airport by Sun Group won two titles: Asia's Leading Airport Lounge (CIP and VIP Lounge) and Asia's Leading Regional Airport. The group's Ha Long International Cruise Port was named Asia's Leading Cruise Port 2020.
In the tour operator category, Vietravel won Asia's Leading Tour Operator award. In the entertainment category, two other Sun Group projects were also honored by WTA including Aquatopia Water Park (Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park) as Asia's Leading Water Park 2020 and Sun World Ba Na Hills as Vietnam's Leading Theme Park 2020.
High-end and high-quality resort projects in recent years made significant contributions to raising the international ranking of Vietnam’s tourism industry. Thanks to them, Vietnam is now known as a resort paradise for the elite with some of the most luxurious resorts in the world. An outstanding resort to mention is InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula by Sun Group, honored by World Travel Awards four times as the World’s Leading Luxury Resort 2020 and winning up to seven awards in World Tourism Awards - Asia 2020 including Asia's Leading Luxury Resort. Two other projects of world-renowned resort designer Bill Bensley and Sun Group maintained last year’s achievements: JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay won Asia's Leading Luxury Resort and Spa 2020 award while Hotel de la Coupole MGallery Sapa won Vietnam's Leading Luxury Hotel 2020 award.
Most projects, products, and destinations honored by WTA were initiated by famous enterprises in Vietnam's tourism industry, such as Sun Group, Vietnam Airlines, Vietravel, etc. The investment contribution of large private enterprises and corporations created favorable conditions for Vietnam's tourism industry to reach a new international ranking, attracting the attention of global visitors.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien described the development of Vietnam's tourism industry in recent years as a miracle. In just three years, from 2016 to 2018, the number of international visitors to Vietnam doubled from eight million to nearly 16 million. In 2019 alone, more than 18 million international visitors came to Vietnam (an increase of 16.2 percent compared to 2018) while there were 85 million domestic visitors. This result has helped Vietnam become one of the 10 countries with the fastest-growing tourism industry in the world.
Despite the nine month international lockdown and the "frozen" tourism industry in 2020, positive growth in domestic tourists, especially during the peak of early summer, provided a bright spot for Vietnam’s tourism industry in this difficult time.
It is undeniable that breakthroughs and creativity in local tourism, in addition to new high-end and high-quality products and prestigious international awards form a solid foundation for Vietnam's tourism trade to affirm its global status.