Three Vietnamese cities named backpacker paradises

Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An are becoming Vietnam’s tourist hotpots and are among the most affordable in the world for backpackers.
May 04, 2019 | 20:59

Three Vietnamese cities named backpacker paradises

A corner of Hoi An ancient city.

The cities are high on the top 10 list of cheapest places for travel in the 2019 Backpacker Index by Price of Travel, the world’s largest database of travel costs.

At the top of the list is Hanoi, with just 18.29 USD needed a day for backpackers, followed by HCM City with 19.47 USD.

The ancient city of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam ranked 8th on the list with a daily budget of 21.20 USD.

Price of Travel ranked 137 major cities in the world based on the minimum amount of money budget travelers would need to spend a night in the cheapest bunk bed, two public transport rides, and entrance fee to one top attraction, and three simple meals and beer.

Vietnam recently added 35 countries to the list of those whose nationals can visit the country with an e-visa.

With new changes to the visa policies, Vietnam’s tourism industry hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors by 2020, earning revenue of 35 billion USD a year and contributing 10 percent to the country’s GDP.

Three Vietnamese cities named backpacker paradises

Hanoi's famous train street.

Lure high-spending tourists

Foreign visitors to Vietnam tend to stay longer but spend less than those to other countries in the region, said Le Quang Tung, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism during a workshop on drawing high-spending and long-stay tourists recently took place in Hanoi.

According to him, a foreign tourist spends an average 96 USD per day in Vietnam but 330 USD per day in Singapore.

Tung also pointed to a decrease in the proportion of visitors from high-spending markets, like North America and Europe, in the total number of foreigners to Vietnam since 2015.

He urged the tourist sector to pay more attention to exploiting high-spending markets and raising the proportion of self-guided travellers instead of those booking tours.

Vu The Binh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, recommended the first work to do is to improve visa policy for better competitiveness.

Truong Tan Son, a representative from tour operator Saigontourist, noted the sector needs to clarify its major products.

Pham Ha, director of the Luxury Travel Vietnam Limited Company, said four key points in developing the industry are visa policy, human resources training, tourism products, and effective promotion.

Ngo Minh Duc, chairman of the board of director at the HG company, suggested Vietnam establish a tourism development fund and tourism promotion offices overseas.

Cao Tri Dung, director of the Vietnam Travelmart, said the country’s current infrastructure can satisfy visitors’ demand for aviation, food and accommodation services. However, to keep them stay for longer duration, the tourism sector needs to provide more recreational activities like shopping, golf, and performance shows.

He added the building of tax-refund facilities at tourist destinations rather than just at the airports is also necessary.

According to the General Statistics Office, the number of foreign visitors to Vietnam in March exceeded 1.4 million people, raising the total number of foreigners to the country over the last three months to more than 4.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 7 percent.

In 2019, the tourism industry aims to welcome 103 million visitors, including 18 million international visitors and 85 million domestic tourists./.


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