Islands and sea tourism accounts for 70% of tourism activities in Viet Nam.
To develop tourism fast and in sustainable manner, Viet Nam has defined islands and sea tourism as a breakthrough in the development of sea economy and one of the most vital directions contributing to economy development as well as protection of national sovereignty.
Strengths on islands and sea tourism
Viet Nam has a long coastline of 3,260 km and over 3,000 large and small islands, typically Co To, Quan Lan (Quang Ninh); Cat Ba, Bach Long Vi (Hai Phong); Con Co (Quang Tri); Ly Son (Quang Ngai), Phu Quy (Binh Thuan); Con Dao (Ba Ria – Vung Tau); Phu Quoc and Tho Chu (Kien Giang) together with two archipelagos of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.
In addition to great potentials of seafood, seaweed, mineral and oil, Viet Nam also boasts beautiful bays, caves, islands, and beaches which are favorable conditions to develop islands and sea tourism. Grasping these strengths, Viet Nam has invested in developing many famous destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Tra Co Beach, Van Don, Quan Lan, Minh Chau (Quang Ninh); Cat Ba Island (Hai Phong); Sam Son Beach (Thanh Hoa); Cua Lo Beach (Nghe An); Nhat Le Beach (Quang Binh); Lang Co Bay (Thua Thien Hue); My Khe Beach (Da Nang); Cua Dai Beach (Quang Nam); Nha Trang Bay, Cam Ranh Bay (Khanh Hoa); Mui Ne Beach (Binh Thuan); Vung Tau (Ba Ria – Vung Tau); and Phu Quoc Island, Ha Tien (Kien Giang). To increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of sea tourism, sea sports and entertainment services have been put into operation, including sailing, boat racing, windsurfing, soccer, and beach volleyball, especially admiring the sea by glider, air balloon, aircraft models (in Nha Trang and Da Nang) or by helicopter (in Ha Long Bay).
Besides, tourism infrastructure and transport systems, especially system of coastal accommodation establishments have also been fostered. The coastal regions have until now nearly 1,400 accommodation facilities that supply more than 45,000 rooms. Additionally, located between two large cruise tourism centers (Hong Kong and Singapore), Viet Nam has numerous advantages to develop type of cruise tourism. Such famous international ships in the world as Superstar Gemini, Costa Victoria, Celebrity Millennium, Henna, Europa 2 and Azamara have brought tourists to Viet Nam (500 – 3,000 passengers/trip). Total number of cruise tourists to Viet Nam in 2013 reached over 190,000 arrivals.
Stimulating islands and sea tourism
To stimulate islands and sea tourism, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has approved the project of “Development of Viet Nam’s islands and sea and coastal region tourism by 2020” since August 2013. The goal of the project is to develop sea tourism into a driving force of Viet Nam’s sea economy by 2020, contributing to developing Viet Nam into a strong sea-based country, enriched by sea and to the protection of national sovereignty. The project has also set target by 2020: sea tourism will attract 22 million international arrivals, 58 million domestic trippers and total sea tourism receipts will reach VND 200,000 billion.
Besides, principal development orientations are mentioned in the project, including putting into operation at least 6 beach tourist attractions of international stature with high competitiveness in 2020 (Ha Long – Bai Tu Long – Cat Ba, Lang Co – Canh Duong, Hoi An – Cu Lao Cham, Nha Trang – Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet – Mui Ne, Phu Quoc), 5 tourist ports (Ha Long, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc); investment in islands, sea tourism promotion and development of Viet Nam sea tourism brand name; investment in development of typical sea tourism products; human resource development for sea tourism in key areas (Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Nghe An, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City and Kien Giang); organizing sea tourism zones; construction of resorts, tourist destinations, coastal tourism urban; main tourist routes by road, air, sea, river, and rail.
To obtain the goals, key solutions are proposed such as creating mechanisms and favorable policies to promote the development of sea tourism; enhancing the capacity of state management agency on tourism; developing sea tourism associated with adaptation to climate change impacts; effective use of resources invested in sea tourism infrastructure development which focuses on developing tourism infrastructure in archipelagos of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa; encouraging the community to participate in developing sea tourism; focusing on developing typical sea tourism products with international and regional competitiveness; close coordination with defense industry and coastal localities to develop islands, sea tourism associated with ensuring national security and poverty alleviation; strengthening research and application of science and technology to support sea tourism sustainable development goals; intensifying bilateral and multilateral cooperation to promote islands, sea tourism and lure more tourists to Viet Nam.