The country ranked sixth among the regional countries most visited by cruise ships in 2017, following Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. “Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination for our guests from the US, Australia and Europe, as well as from Asian countries, and cruising is one of the best ways to explore this magnificent part of the world”, said Farriek Tawfik, Director of the Southeast Asia at Princess Cruises, a cruise line owned by the US Carnival Corporation & PLC. The Southeast Asian country poses huge potential for cruise travel. The nation has become an apple of foreign cruisers thanks to the growing population of the middle and affluent class which is expected to double in size between now and 2020, to 33 million, or one third of the country’s population. Farriek Tawfik said that cruise demand in the country surged 126% during 2012-2016, the strongest growth recorded in the Asian region. Quoting statistics from the Cruise Lines International Association, he stated that in 2012, there were only 158 Vietnamese cruise passengers; however, the number had gone up to 4,100 four years later. To attract more cruise liners, Vietnam should have sufficient sea port facilities and services at tourist attractions. A friendlier environment should be created for foreign visitors, through measures such as simplifying the visa granting procedures, according to Farriek Tawfik.