Vietnam has a long coastline of 3,260 km and over 3,000 islands large and small. In addition to significant potential in seafood, seaweed, minerals, and oil, Vietnam also boasts spectacular bays, caves, islands, and beaches that are favourable for developing island and sea tourism.

It was ranked 27th out of 156 countries and territories around the world with sea borders in terms of coastal length and has the longest coastal area in Southeast Asia.

The country is also one of 12 with bays considered among the most beautiful in the world - Ha Long Bay and Nha Trang Bay.

Islands and seas not only provide resources for life but are home to cultural heritages such as folk festivals, beliefs and customs, cuisine, and folklore. All create an abundant source of products for the sustainable development of island and sea tourism.

Seizing upon these strengths, Vietnam has invested substantial sums in improving many popular destinations. Water sports and entertainment services have been introduced to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of sea tourism, including sailing, boat racing, windsurfing, beach football, beach volleyball, and gliding and hot-air ballooning, together with plane and helicopter trips.

Tourism infrastructure and transport networks, and especially a system of coastal accommodation providers, have also been fostered, contributing to attracting millions of visitors each year. Three marine tourism centres have been formed - Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province, Da Nang, and Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa - with 4-5 star accommodation attracting international tourists.

Island and sea tourism accounts for 70% of all tourism activities in Vietnam and has become a driving force for Vietnam’s tourism development, contributing significantly to making tourism a spearhead economic sector.

Local specialties have also developed brands, which contribute to the development of sea tourism products. Famous products include Phu Quoc fish sauce, Ha Long squid paste, Ly Son garlic, Nha Trang bird’s nest, Cat Ba forest honey.

The development of marine tourism also contributes to promoting the development of many other economic sectors and improving coastal residents’ living conditions.

Experts also said that focusing on promoting the development of island tourism is the correct approach, developing Vietnam into a strong marine-based country, enriched by the sea and protecting national sovereignty.

To develop marine tourism quickly and in a sustainable manner, it is necessary to strategically invest in infrastructure, services, and human resource at tourism centres. In particular, special attention should be paid to promoting the cultural values of each locality in an attempt to create their own profile and encourage tourists to return./.