Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Tourism is a remarkable contributor to Vietnam’s economic growth.

The sector has drawn about 10 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) and nearly 300 trillion VND (13.5 billion USD) in domestic investment.

More than 6.1 trillion VND (274.5 million USD) has been sourced from the State budget since 2006 to develop tourism infrastructure.

Popular destinations in Vietnam include Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province, Phu Quoc island in southern Kien Giang province, and Nha Trang in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa .

The country is home to more than 1,500 international travel companies. As of May this year, Vietnam had 101 five-star hotels, 299 four-star and 463 three-star hotels.

Vietnam has provided visa exemptions for tourists from 22 countries and territories.

Between 2010 and 2015, the tourism sector recorded average growth of 9.5 percent. The industry grossed 15.4 billion USD in revenue, contributing 6.6 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) while generating 2.25 million jobs.

In 2015 alone, Vietnam welcomed 7.94 million foreign visitors and 57 million domestic ones, raking in 10-11 billion USD in revenue.

In the first seven months of 2016, the sector served 5.55 million overseas holidaymakers, a year-on-year rise of 24 percent. Tourism revenue reached 235 trillion VND (10.57 billion USD), a yearly increase of 22.9 percent.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2015’s report, Vietnam ranked 75th out of 141 countries in the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

At a national conference on tourism development in Hoi An ancient town on August 9, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested reinforcing the management of the tourism environment, especially streamlining entry-exit procedures, speeding up aviation links, improving promotion programmes and supporting the development of big tourism names, to turn tourism into a spearhead economic sector.-VNA