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As Incomes Grow, More Vietnamese Are Traveling Abroad

While Vietnam welcomed 10 million foreign visitors last year, the country’s own citizens are also getting out to see the world beyond their borders.

Vietnam is expected to experience the second-largest growth in outbound tourism among the Asia Pacific region’s emerging markets, reports VietnamNet, citing MasterCard’s report, Future of Outbound Travel in Asia Pacific 2016 to 2021.

According to the report, as many as 7.5 million Vietnamese tourists will travel overseas by 2021, the result of 9.5% compound annual growth between now and then. Among the region’s emerging markets, this puts Vietnam second only to Myanmar, which is likely to see a 10.6% growth in outbound travel over the next five years.

“The burgeoning middle class is driving the growth of outbound travel in Asia Pacific, along with other trends such as the emergence of the Asian millennial traveler and on the other end of the spectrum the senior traveler, as well as new technology and infrastructure developments,” Eric Schneider, Asia Pacific senior vice president of MasterCard Advisors, told the news outlet.

“Asia Pacific travelers will continue to fuel global tourism growth in years to come, providing vast opportunities for businesses to benefit through the development of products and solutions that seek to improve their overall travel experiences.”

These numbers, however, may come to fruition sooner than MasterCard expects. While the company’s report estimated a total of 4.8 million Vietnamese tourists abroad in 2016, Vietnam’s own national tourism association put the figure much higher, at 6.5 million outbound tourists in 2016, reports VnExpress.

According to the Vietnam Tourism Association, this was a staggering 15% jump from the previous year, as regional destinations like Thailand, Singapore, China and South Korea caught the attention of Vietnamese travelers. However the association’s vice chairman, Vu The Binh, cautions that this is only an educated guess.

“There are no government agencies compiling data on the number of Vietnamese traveling overseas," Binh told the news outlet. "This is our best estimate."

The association also estimates Vietnamese tourists spend as much as US$7-8 billion abroad each year. Despite economic ups and downs, outbound tourism seems set to remain on the rise as Vietnam’s middle class expands and more families are able to afford a vacation abroad.

[Photo via Du Lich Malaysia]

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