Major European travel companies TUI and Alpitour World have announced plans to start flying tourists from Italy and the United Kingdom to the tourism-haven island of Phu Quoc by the end of this year.
The Germany-based TUI said during the recent IBT Berlin tourism trade fair that it would bring tourists from the U.K. to Phu Quoc on charter flights starting this November, while Italian Alpitour World has similar plans for Italian tourists from December, Saigon Times reported.
TUI expected it can bring at least 8,000 visitors to the island in the first year and has worked with five resorts on Phu Quoc to prepare for the arrivals, Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, told the newspaper upon returning from the trade fair Wednesday.
“That is very good news for Phu Quoc as both companies have very large customer bases,” Sieu said.
TUI is seeking help with promotion from Vietnam while Alpitour needs procedure support to connect the air route, he said.
Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province attracts visitors by its beautiful, warm beaches and fresh seafood, as well as a visa waiver policy for foreigners visiting the island for up to 30 days.
Official data showed that more than 1.45 million tourists visited the island last year, 14 percent of them foreigners.
Investments worth VND160 trillion ($7 billion) have been poured into the island’s tourism industry, including a casino and a cable car project. A 500-hectare (1,236-acre) safari was opened last December.
Hotels are being built to prepare for up to three million visitors a year by 2020, according to local officials.
The country’s biggest island, of nearly 600 square kilometers (290 square miles) or 80 percent of Singapore's area, is now connected to the island city-state and Cambodia's Siem Reap, major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh as well as Guangzhou and Shanghai in China.
Tourists from Italy to Vietnam grew 27 percent last year and the number jumped 20 percent for arrivals from the U.K., based on government statistics.