A new luxury cruise ship will start bringing tourists from the southern Chinese region of Guangxi to resort towns in central Vietnam in late August.
The 24,500-ton ship can carry 960 passengers, Xinhua reported. Destinations include Da Nang and Nha Trang, two of the most famous beach towns in central Vietnam.
The new service will add to existing regional routes between Guangxi's ports and Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta, according to the report.
Da Nang and Nha Trang have already been popular among Chinese tourists in recent years, apart from Phu Quoc Island and Ha Long Bay.
Traditionally a large number of Chinese visitors enter Vietnam through the northern border for short, affordable trips. New cruise ship services mean more and more Chinese travelers now have deeper pockets.
Chinese tourists have single-handedly driven the global tourism industry.
Around 5.2 million Chinese visitors came to Vietnam during the first five months, a sharp increase of 56 percent compared to the same period last year, according to official data. Last year, Vietnam welcomed nearly 2.7 million Chinese arrivals, up by 51.4 percent.
More foreigners are traveling to Vietnam on cruise ships, hitting 168,000 in the first five months, up 44 percent.
Tourism authorities are eyeing a 15 percent increase in all international tourists this year, from 10 million last year.
Tourism is expected to contribute 10 percent to Vietnam’s gross domestic product, becoming a key driving force of the economy by 2020, when the country is expected to receive up to 20 million foreign visitors and earn $35 billion in tourism revenue.