The UK has for the first time in seven years become one of Vietnam's top 10 tourism markets, with nearly 18,000 Britons coming here in January 2012, a year-on-year increase of 39.7 percent, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

UK tourist arrivals picked up strongly after Vietnam Airlines launched direct flights between London and Hanoi and HCM City last December.

The airline, which operates four weekly flights on the routes and will introduce daily flights in 2015, has also organised a host of marketing activities to attract British tourists.

The UK was last among Vietnam 's top 10 markets in 2005.

VNAT will also focus on exploiting the promising market through promotions, road shows, and familiarisation tours to Vietnam for British travel agencies this year./.