China is fueling much of this tourism boom — Chinese tourists spent $30 billion abroad last year. And where are they going? Vietnam.
An article on tourism in developing economies in The Economist last month put the number of Chinese visitors in Vietnam at 507,000 for 2007. The Vietnamese tourist industry also benefited from 442,000 South Korean visitors and 376,000 tourists from the United States.
Another Economist article published in April focuses on growth in Vietnam’s tourist industry and concerns about sustainable tourism. Again, Vietnam’s move to number four on the World Travel and Tourism Council‘s table of fastest-growing destinations is chalked up to the rising spending power of nearby countries. However, Vietnam’s infrastructure is cited as a handicap, the reason for its rank of 96 out of 130 countries on the World Economic Forum‘s competitiveness forum.
But while infrastructure lags behind, retail growth is brandishing the country’s luxury appeal. AT Kearney ranked Vietnam number one on its list of most attractive markets for retail investment, as reported by Foreign Direct Investment. Vietnam outstripped former leaders India, China and Russia thanks to its 8% GDP growth and the relative lack of competition compared with these countries.