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The number of Britons visiting Vietnam has increased sharply this year, according to research.

Holidaymakers seem to have been encouraged by Vietnam Airlines starting a service last December from Gatwick to Hanoi, the first direct flights to the country from Britain.

Vietnam topped the Post Office’s survey of the fastest-growing foreign currencies, with summer sales of the dong soaring by 68 per cent compared with last year.

Brazil also appears to be growing in popularity. Sales of Brazilian real increased by two thirds this summer, according to the study.

Hotel rates in Brazil have risen in response: research conducted this week by the website showed that the average price of a double room in Rio de Janeiro has increased by 31 per cent since 2011.

Interest in the country is likely to grow, as it is due to stage the 2014 Fifa World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Sales of the Mexican peso, the Hungarian forint and the Croatian kuna all rose by around half compared with last year.

Andrew Brown, head of travel money at the Post Office, said the study proved holidaymakers were increasingly considering currency fluctuations when booking a trip. “It may be no coincidence that the destinations that have notched up big increases in currency sales during the summer have been ones against which sterling has surged in value.”

Tags: tourism, uk, vietnam