When the Post Office recently revealed their list of the fastest growing currencies in the UK, I was not surprised to see which destination was at number one – Vietnam!
The index is a good indicator of hot tourist destinations for Brits this summer and like us at PureTravel it appears they too love Vietnam holidays! In fact sales of the Vietnamese currency, the dong soared by a massive 68% this summer (June-August). The findings come from the highly respected UK Post Office which has 11,500 local branches across the UK.
In my opinion this should put Vietnam right at the top of the must-see destinations list for some wintersun and into spring 2013. The weather is distinctly autumnal right now in the UK so a long haul trip to Vietnam is ideal and even easier now that direct flights are operating between London Gatwick and Hanoi as we reported last year. And right now 1 GBP equals 33,760 VND which means that with just 29.61 GBP you can be a millionaire in Vietnam!
The rise in popularity is also attributed to the fact that several luxury resorts have also opened up in various locations throughout Vietnam. There is also a new airport planned for the southern Vietnam province of Kien Giang; the Phu Quoc International Airport is on schedule to open late 2012 and will dramatically increase accessibility of the Mekong Delta region. The Vietnamese government has pledged to invest more money on key tourist infrastructures such as leisure and entertainment complexes, even if the addition of tuk-tuks on the city streets of Hanoi has been vetoed.
At a recent meeting, tourism ministers of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar debated the feasibility of creating a ‘unified visa zone’ for the four countries, which would ease red tape for tourists visiting southeast Asia. If the system gets the go ahead its estimated that more than 25 million international travellers will visit the 4 countries, compared to 12 million foreign tourists last year (and 14% more than 2010). Of course once western travellers have made the journey it’s all the more attractive to combine several Southeast Asian countries at the same time. In fact many western tour operators already offer the multi-country trips so this move would be very appealing.
I’ve been lucky enough to have explored Vietnam, spending time in the usual Vietnamese tourist haunts; Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay and I absolutely loved my visit! I hope more travellers discover Vietnam for themselves and for some inspiration check out some of the weird and wonderful hotels you could opt for.
Imagine my excitement as well when I caught the BBC Top Gear Special which featured the three famous presenters; Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James |May traversing Vietnam on motorbikes travelling 1,000 miles from Ho Chi Minh City to Halong City. They had just eight days to complete the journey with various challenges along the way but I won’t reveal who won – all I can say is that you definitely need to catch up with the episode either on a cable TV station or via the BBC site. Fantastic viewing and very funny!
And if you’re curious as to which destinations came in positions 2-10, we have published the list; Top 10 Fastest growing holiday destinations revealed.
Hanoi Youth Hostel – No.5 Luong Ngoc Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hotline: (+84) 972004080