Fast-growing Vietnam tops the dream-destination list for South Koreans. They wish to get back to the country’s beaches, to its tables, and its warm people that have long made it a top drawcard to visitors from South Korea.
A beloved travel destination
|South Korean travelers love to wear ao dai or Vietnamese traditional dress and conical hat. Photo: Vietnamtourism.gov.vn|
South Korean travelers are super eager to get back to Vietnam the most, according to the latest study of Summer Travel Trends by Agoda.com.
It matches perfectly the figures announced by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Accordingly, out of 602,000 international arrivals to Vietnam in the first six-month of 2022, Korean tourists accounted for the largest number, reaching 107,900, an increase of 487.8% over the same period last year.
Vietnam reopened to international tourism with quarantine-free entry from March 15 and resumed 15-day visa waivers for tourists from South Korea, its second largest source market before the pandemic.
Sunny Tan, General Manager of Fraser Residence Hanoi, said Vietnam is a beautiful country with friendly locals and wins any foreign tourists’ hearts. But there are important criteria attributed to the huge surge in South Korean visits to Vietnam recently.
“Geographical proximity and daily direct flights between the two countries are the most favorable conditions for Korean people to frequent Vietnam. It takes an average of five hours to get here, so they can save time to discover Vietnam’s charm at any time of all seasons,” he told The Hanoi Times.
|They also love to experience the daily life of the H’Mong ethnic minority in Sapa Town, Lao Cai Province. Photo: Nhu Giang|
Omri Morgenshtern, CEO of Agoda.com, said international travel has quickly recovered recently as travel restrictions have eased, proving people have been looking forward to traveling internationally again for the past two years.
“Travelers are making the most of the holidays and are keen to visit both domestic and international destinations in Asia,” he said.
He also added that “reliving memories as well as going back to places that travelers once enjoyed seems to be the theme this summer.”
In addition, Vietnam also featured prominently on the destination wishlist for visitors from Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia, all keen to once again head back to Vietnam for their summer getaways, according to Agoda.com
South Koreans in search of a “familiar feeling”
According to Ly Xuong Can (Lee Chang Kun), Vietnamese Tourism Ambassador to Korea, most Koreans who used to visit Vietnam said that they had a good impression of the country.
“These travelers prefer to revisit the country or even want to settle down in Vietnam in the future,” he said.
“South Koreans have the “nostalgic feeling” as if they are in Seoul when visiting Danang city. They said that they miss Vietnam so much that they want to fly to the country immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic is contained,” he added.
|Vietnamese Tourism Ambassador to Korea Ly Xuong Can. Photo courtesy of the Ambassador|
Sunny Tan from Fraser Residence Hanoi highlighted the close economic, diplomatic, and cultural bonds between the two countries, for which Vietnam can be considered “home away from home” for South Korean travelers and expatriates, would be the main reason that the people love to visit Vietnam.
“The fact is that more and more Korea-related businesses in Vietnam such as retail brands, cafes, and eateries have emerged and catered to the daily need of both short-term and long-term Korean expats,” he stated.
Hanoi, Danang are the first choices
Lee June, an office worker in Seoul has chosen Hanoi as her first-ever travel destination when the Covid-19 pandemic is under control. “After watching TV shows about Vietnam and reading reviews on social media about the country’s food and culture, I decided to visit Hanoi,” she told The Hanoi Times.
During her journey to places of interest in Hanoi, Lee was dazzled at many businesses with Korean signs, from barbecue restaurants, and beauty salons to cafeterias here. Many other Korean tourists admitted to having similar experiences.
“Hanoi offers me an interesting “home-sweet-home” feeling rather than any country that I used to travel to,” she said.
“I visited one of the Korean-style buildings in Hanoi and experienced the food there. The taste of the food is exactly the same as it is in Korea, and the ingredients are even fresher,” she added.
In fact, the big cities in Vietnam like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Danang have long been tourist attractions for both business and backpacker travelers. These cities’ tasty street food, gorgeous heritage, and breathtaking landscapes offer a lot of exciting experiences for those who love low-cost adventures.
Sunny Tan from Fraser Residences said that most of his property’s guests are South Korean citizens coming to Hanoi for business or leisure.
“The hotel has a great location with the Embassy of South Korea nearby and industrial zones where many Korean companies are mushrooming. This is one of the convenient factors for Korean expats,” he said.
Besides Hanoi, the coastal city of Danang in the central region of Vietnam is also well-known in South Korea for its beautiful resorts and beaches. The city has become the top foreign destination for Koreans, according to the Korean e-commerce website Ticket Monster.
|A simple yet elegant house in Hoi An ancient town of Danang City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. Photo: Nguoi Hoi An|
Korean tourists love to visit Hoi An ancient town, which is located some 30km away from Danang. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were about 240,000 South Koreans who visited Hoi An yearly, the number far higher than that of Chinese tourists who used to be considered “the patrons” of the old town.
So far, Korea is a major foreign investor in Vietnam with a total registered capital of up to US$65 billion. Samsung has opened huge factories to produce mobile phones and electronic goods in the country.
With the rapid growth of reinforcing the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Korea in many facets, Sunny Tan is certain that the coming years will witness an even greater influx of South Korean visiting and relocating to Vietnam.