The Irresistible Growth of Vietnam Outbound

Vietnam, outbound travel


Watch out Vietnam potential. It will be the next big travel market of Southeast Asia, probably surpassing Thailand in the next decade…

Vietnam is in a midst of a consumer’s boom thanks to the quick rise of its middle class. In a country of 95 million inhabitants, middle affluent class (MAC) as called by experts will make a third of the population by 2020. This would represent some 33 million people from a current 16 million. GDP per capita is likely to rise to over US$3,000 compared to US$1,800.

This has an effect on tourism with a sharp rose in outbound travels from Vietnamese locals. A new report from consulting firm Euromonitor points to the fact that outbound tourism from Vietnam has been growing over the past few years at an annual rate of 10% to 15%.

From 4.2 million overseas trips in 2012, Vietnam’s total outbound reached in 2015 already six million to finally top last year 7.5 million departures. It is likely that the eight-million mark will be reached this year. In a recent article, the Financial Times pointed out that a record number of Vietnamese travellers were heading overseas for the Tet festivities – the Vietnamese new year.

Vietnamese go in their majority to visit neighbouring countries. China -despite regular political skirmish- has turned into Vietnamese travellers’ favourite with some two million trips last year. Cambodia sees as well over a million Vietnamese every year while Thailand is close to a million incoming Vietnamese travellers. All these destinations have seen a surge in air connections with low cost carrier such as Vietjet or Jetstar being the spearhead in the trend. They not only connect Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the rest of Asia but increasingly other large Vietnamese cities (Danang, Haiphong or Nha Trang) to regional destinations.

Other important destinations for Vietnam middle class is Laos, Singapore and Japan. A tiny portion goes to overseas destinations with the USA and Germany attracting slightly over 100,000 Vietnamese holiday makers acording to Euromonitor.

According to the Vietnam Tourism Association, Vietnamese tourists spent $8bn in 2016 — the latest year for which the data were available — more than double the $3.5bn they spent in 2012. And looking at a study from Nielsen -a market research group-, travel ranks among affluent Vietnamese in third position, ahead of dining out and buying new clothes.