Vang Vieng, Lao PDR


Proudly contributed by Ton

Across the length and breadth of Vietnam, quality real estate investments have turned localities like Da Nang, Sa Pa, Quang Ninh and Phu Quoc into tourism hotspots.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam reached an all-time high of 18 million in 2019, up 16.2 percent year-on-year.

The tourism industry also reaped an unprecedented harvest of global awards: the world’s leading heritage destination award and Asia’s leading culinary destination award, for instance, at the World Travel Awards (WTA); not to mention the world’s best golf destination at the international World Golf Awards.

Sunshine Carnival is one of the entertainment attractions at Ba Na Hills.

The growth and prestige the tourism industry has garnered have been credited to the government’s policies, including visa waivers for nationals of potentially large tourism markets, the launch of new direct flights and the development of world class resorts and entertainment facilities by major Vietnamese investors like the Sun Group.

From transit point to tourism hub

Just over 10 years ago, the central coastal city of Da Nang was a relatively unknown destination. In 2007, the whole city had less than 1,300 hotel rooms that accommodated about one million domestic and international visitors. The local airport served mostly as a place for domestic flights that tourists took to reach other, more famous destinations in central Vietnam.

The turning point came when the city government called on major investors to join hands with the municipality and rejuvenate Da Nang. Responding to that clarion call, in 2007, Sun Group began developing a project in Ba Na – once a mountain retreat for French emigrates in colonial times, but long since forgotten and considered accessible only by some intrepid travelers.

A year later, the Sun World Ba Na Hills tourism and entertainment complex opened to the public, with a cable car route ferrying travelers up from the foot of the mountain. The impact was immediate. In 2009, more than 1.3 million visitors came to Da Nang, setting a new record for arrivals. With world-class services and entertainments, a high-end resort and golf course, Ba Na Hills has continued to be a tourism magnet.

In 10 years, the resort has seen tourist numbers grow 160 times. In particular, when the iconic Golden Bridge opened in Ba Na Hills in 2018, Da Nang experienced a huge spike in arrivals. Everyone wanted to check-in on the Golden Bridge with its two god-like hands cupping the structure.

In 2014, Sun Group unveiled their second game-changing investment in Da Nang – the InterContinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort on the picturesque Son Tra Peninsula. The resort was named the World’s Leading Luxury Resort by the World Travel Awards for four consecutive years, from 2014 to 2017.

In the decade following the opening of Ba Na Hills, Da Nang’s tourism growth has been the envy of many other destinations. Last year, nearly 8.7 million visitors came to Da Nang, nearly five times higher than the number in 2010; and tourism revenue reached VND30.97 trillion ($1.33 billion), 25 times higher.

Sa Pa reclaims yesteryear glory

In early 2016, the Fansipan cable car opened as part of the Sun World Fansipan Legend tourism complex in Sa Pa, drawing the attention of travelers from all over the world. Invested and developed by Sun Group, the cable car set two world records in connecting Sa Pa Town with the rooftop of Indochina, the peak of Fansipan, which soars 3,143 meters into the sky.

A truly remarkable feat of engineering, the cable car boosted Sa Pa tourism numbers immediately, but Sun Group had many more attractions to unveil, including the Muong Hoa funicular as well as a complex of Buddhist monuments that made Fansipan a spiritual destination. At the Sun World Fansipan Legend tourism complex, tourists can now learn more about the unique cultural traditions of numerous hill tribes who have lived on the mountains of the northwest for centuries.

These investments have also given the northern highlands town a huge fillip. In 2013, Sa Pa only welcomed 720,000 visitors and earned revenues of VND576 billion ($24.77 million). In 2019, the number of visitors to Sa Pa had crossed 3.2 million, with revenue rising to VND9.34 trillion ($402 million), 16.2 times higher than 2013.

In 2019, when the Sun World Fansipan Legend was named Vietnam’s Leading Tourist Attraction and The World’s Leading Cultural Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards, Sa Pa had arrived as a globally-recognized destination.

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