The over 3200km coastlines running along the country makes a proportion of 100km2 of mainland/lkm of coastline (the world average is 600km2/1km of coastline). Besides, Vietnam 3000 islands of various sizes, white sandy beaches and crystal blue sea water also greatly facilitate the prospect of Vietnam’s sea tourism.
Apart from renowned beaches such as Cat Ba, Sam Son, Lang Co, Non Nuoc, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc, etc, Vietnam also boasts many bays among the world’s best bays such as Ha Long, Lang Co or Nha Trang that hide underneath majestic coral reefs. The marine ecology in islands and seashores is also appealing in Bai Tu Long, Cat Ba, Cu Lao islands, Con Dao, Phu Quoc as blessed with typical floras and faunas suitable for tourist development. Coastal regions are also home to many world heritages from Ha Long bay, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, Hue citadel complex with the court music to Hoi An’s old town and My Son monastery. This proves ideal to combine sea tourism with trips to world heritages. Furthermore, the basic infrastructure for coastal tourism has rapidly evolved, thus bringing a new breeze to the whole sector.
In recent years, coastal regions in Vietnam attract about 70% of foreign tourists and over 50% of domestic tourists, contributing make up 70% of total the revenues from tourism. Many large cruise ship brands have carried visitors to Vietnam to discover the country’s sea territories such as Star Cruise, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises and Discovery Cruise Lines… Annually, many provinces and cities come forward to host sea tourist festivals from Carnival Ha Long, Nha Trang – the August Rendezvous to Lang Co the Sea Legend… These hold the gaze of both foreign and domestic visitors.
As pointed out in the Marine Strategy, Vietnam is aiming for a share of 53 – 55% of GDP from the marine economy by 2020. Sea tourism will serve as the fourth spearheading industry to make up 14% to 15% of the total marine economy nationwide. The Vietnam Tourism Development Strategy by 2020 and Vision to 2030 indicated: “Continue to focus on tourist services and products that can generate strong added values in the whole country and each location; switching priority to developing sea- and island-related tourism; emphasizing unique cultural and ecological elements in tourist products; developing high quality sea resorts and cementing national brands to equally compete in the region and the world over”.
By 2020, Vietnam is expected to rank alongside the most developed regional countries in sea tourism (Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia). To produce a truly recognizable sea image, five internationally and regionally competitive sea resorts should be heavily invested in the future, including Ha Long – Cat Ba, Lang Co – Son Tra – Hoi An, Nha Trang – Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet – Mui Ne and Phu Quoc.