Vietnam had performed as the best tourism market in the region in 2010 with the number of foreign arrivals recording a year-on-year increase of 40 percent, according to Business Monitor International (BMI).

The performance is particularly impressive given that it has traditionally lagged behind regional market leaders such as India and Thailand , the organisation said in its Vietnam Tourism Report Q2 2011.

Last year, Vietnam benefited from strong regional development with arrivals from Asia-Pacific increasing by 7.74 percent over 2009. This suggested that the country has become a popular tourist destination, potentially attracting visitors who may be reluctant to visit larger tourism markets, said the report.

The country is expected to attract 5.58 million tourists this year, up 8 percent from last year’s figure of 5.16 million.

The Vietnamese Government has designated tourism as an economic spearhead and set a target of boosting the sector's economic contribution to 4.5% of GDP in 2011. To this end, authorities will implement programmes to enhance the sector, particularly sea and ecotourism, which remain relatively underdeveloped compared to the sector as a whole./.