Vietnam emerges as attractive destination for foreign luxurious cruisers hinh anh 1Island Princess Cruiser in Alaska.
(Photo: Princess Cruises)

Hanoi (VNA)Vietnam has emerged as one of the leading attractive destinations in Asia for international cruise ships with the arrival of more than 400 ships in 2017.

The country ranked sixth among regional countries most visited by cruise ships in 2017, following Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.

“Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for our guests from the US, Australia and Europe as well as from Asian countries and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this magnificent part of the world”, said Farriek Tawfik, Director of the Southeast Asia at Princess Cruises, a cruise line owned by the US Carnival Corporation &PLC.

In response to growing demand, the cruise line has significantly expanded itineraries to offer passengers more choices of sailings and exciting trips, he added.

Princess Cruises took 58,000 international passengers on 22 sailings to Vietnam’s Phu My, Nha Trang, Da Nang and Cai Lan ports in 2017. This year, its six cruisers - Majestic Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Coral Princess, will make 31 voyages and bring some 80,000 visitors to Vietnam.

The liner has pledged assistance to Vietnam’s sea tourism sector by arranging programmes for its customers to discover local landscapes, cuisine and culture. It will also use local fresh food to serve on-board meals.

Also, the Southeast Asian country poses huge potential for cruise travel. The nation has become an apple of foreign cruisers thanks to the growing population of the middle and affluent class which is said to double in size between now and 2020, to 33 million, or one third of the country’s population.

Farriek Tawfik said that cruise demand in the country surged 126 percent during 2012-2016, the strongest growth recorded in the Asian region. Quoting statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association, he stated that in 2012, there were only 158 Vietnamese cruise passengers; however, the number went up to 4,100 four years later.

To attract more cruise liners, Vietnam should have sufficient sea port facilities and relevant services at tourist attractions. A friendlier environment should be created for foreign visitors like simplifying visa granting procedures, according to Farriek Tawfik.-VNA