Home to numerous beautiful landscapes and cultural and historical sites, Vietnam is increasingly attracting European tourists, particularly from the UK, one of the Vietnamese tourism industry’s target markets.

Data from the General Statistics Office show a stable increase in the number of British tourists to Vietnam between 2007 and 2013, with 184,663 Brits visiting Vietnam last year. The first 8 months of 2014 saw 144,800 British tourists come to Vietnam, up by 17.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

A majority chose Vietnam as a holiday destination to relax and explore the country’s natural beauty. Travel companies said 65 percent of British tourists were attracted to by country’s culture and geography, while others choose Vietnam for its low costs.

Vietnam offers a number of tourism opportunities that suit the taste of British visitors, and its advantageous geographical location means the country is accessible from transport hubs all over the region.

However, a number of obstacles are preventing Vietnam from attracting more UK holiday-makers, such as infrequent marketing campaigns and the absence of a representative national tourism office. Furthermore, Vietnam has to compete with attractive tourism destinations in neighbouring countries.

Vietnam has been implementing a number of measures to bring in more British tourists, including promotional campaigns, better connections between the aviation and tourism sectors and simplified entrance procedures.

The country currently applies a 30-day visa exemption for ASEAN nationals and a 15-day visa exemption for some European nationalities. If the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism’s proposal to expand these exemptions to nine additional nationalities, including the UK, goes ahead, the number of British tourists to Vietnam will most likely increase.

The National Administration of Tourism said many visitors from the UK are 50 years old and above, and prefer coastal destinations. The tourism sector therefore needs to tap into the southern central region’s potential for coastal tourism.

Meanwhile, the northern central region, the Red River Delta and the Mekong Delta are ideal destinations for those interested in discovering Vietnam’s natural, cultural and historical value, it added.-VNA