|Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province|
The UNWTO’s list was based on the assessment of upsurges in tourist arrivals. Accordingly, Viet Nam saw a 24.6% surge in the number of foreign visitors in 2016 compared to the previous year.
Among Asian countries present on the list, Viet Nam (seventh place) ranks third, behind Nepal (second place, 39.7%) and the Republic of Korea (fourth place, 30.3%).
Sierra Leone, a West African nation, topped the list with a 310% increase in overseas arrivals in 2016 (74,400 arrivals) compared to 2015 (24,000 arrivals), which was thanks to the country being declared Ebola-free in November 2015.
The UNWTO also published a list of ten nations that saw sharp declines in last year’s foreign arrivals, including Egypt, Afghanistan, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, Palau, Haiti, Belgium, Aruba and Laos.
Viet Nam has been named as one of the world’s top tourist destinations several times in the past, such as the top 10 cheapest countries to travel in 2016 (voted by The Richest, the US), the top ideal countries for backpacking tourism in 2016 (by Rough Guides, the UK), and the top eco-friendly tourist destinations (by travel experts from Boundless Journeys and Adventure Life).