The Vietnamese central coast city of Da Nang has beaten Phuket and Bali to the throne of most popular beach destination in Southeast Asia in 2018. According to a travel agent quoted in the Nikkei Asia Review, "The pace of growth in Da Nang has far exceeded that of Phuket and Bali thanks to the city’s good public safety record and lower risk of natural disasters."
In the summer of 2918, a sudden storm off the island of Phuket (Thailand) caused a tourist boat to capsize and sink in an accident that killed 47 Chinese tourists. As a result of the accident and a number of negative media stories about Thailand’s tourism industry, Thailand saw a record decline in the number of Chinese tourists who visited the country.
Da Nang City at night
In nearby Indonesia, frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes across the archipelago created an exodus of Indonesian’s and expats and caused many people to think about visiting the country.
• On August 5th, a 6.9 earthquake struck Lombok Island (near Bali) that killed more than 500 people with another 1,500 being injured
• On Sept. 28th, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province triggering a tsunami and landslides that caused widespread destruction and loss of life. More than 2,000 people are known to have died and 4,400 were seriously injured
• On Dec. 22nd more than 400 people died after a tsunami struck western Java and the southern Sumatra Islands. The tsunami was caused by undersea landslides following an eruption at the Anak Krakatoa volcano
Against this background, travel in Vietnam looks safe, secure and peaceful. According to Airbnb, tourism has increased in Da Nang by 250% during the last 5 years and their bookings have increased 300% during the same time frame.
Other tourism reports state that Da Nang received 7.6 million tourists during 2018. International tourism arrivals were estimated at 2.87 million visitors, an increase of 23% over 2017. In terms of market segments, South Korea was the largest group of international visitors, while Chinese were in second place.
Tourism industry officials are extremely optimistic about Da Nang’s tourism future and about the potential of visitor growth from other Asian countries. New international flights are being launched that will connect Da Nang to mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.
Da Nang is also seeing that investments in business and infrastructure are also successful in creating media buzz about the city.
• The APAC summit was successfully held in Da Nang in November 2017 with world leaders, international business people and international media visiting the area
• Da Nang is becoming an IT hub and the city is being developed as one of Vietnam’s “smart cities” and a part of the “ASEAN Smart City Network”
• An increasing number of international conferences and events are being held in the city
• My Khe Beach has been voted as one of Asia’s most beautiful beaches
• The ancient town of Hoi An, near Da Nang has been positioned a “cool” and “hip” place to visit
Da Nang City’s My Khe Beach
International media have also highlighted Da Nang:
• Finder, an Australian travel website listed the city among 10 trending global destinations
• Live and Invest Overseas voted Da Nang among the world’s most livable cities
• The New York Times included Da Nang in its 52 best places to visit in 2019
• Multiple domestic and international media have highlighted the Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hill since it opened in June 2018
• Da Nang is embarking on a branding campaign around its annual International Fireworks Festival and positioning Da Nang as "The City of Fireworks"
Importantly, there’s a lot of tourism construction happening around the city with new condotels, hotels and resorts being built along and near the city’s many miles of beaches. The Da Nang government has also asked for increased funds to continue to expand and upgrade the airport and other facilities and is reaching out to travel agents in China, Japan and South Korea to make sure that the city is “top of mind.”
Da Nang tourism officials expect 2019 to be another positive year and are optimistic that tourism growth will continue unabated through the next 5-years. Da Nang has the potential to continue to be ranked as a great place to visit and the industry is making a concerted effort to maximize the city’s potential.