As China hums on tourists, Vietnam haws on resumption of flights

By Anh Tu   February 24, 2023 | 10:31 pm PT
As China hums on tourists, Vietnam haws on resumption of flights
A Vietnam Airlines aircraft lands at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, June 15, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Vietnamese carriers have postponed resumption of their China services to late April or early May since that country has yet to allow its nationals to travel to Vietnam.

China's non-inclusion of Vietnam in a list of destinations to which it allows outbound tour groups has affected flight resumption plans, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said in a report.

The aviation industry is waiting for China’s decision to allow travel to Vietnam, it added.

Earlier this month China allowed travel agencies to sell tours to 20 countries and territories under a pilot program, including seven in Southeast Asia but not Vietnam.

After China reopened its borders and lifted Covid restrictions on January 8, Vietnamese carriers resumed flights but with reduced frequency, and planned full resumption in March expecting tourism to recover.

Nguyen Quang Trung, a spokesperson for Vietnam Airlines, said the carrier currently operates six weekly flights to China.

Early this month, Vietnam Airlines announced to resume five routes to China from March but it temporarily delayed the resumption.

In 2019, the year before the onset of the pandemic, 11 Chinese and three Vietnamese airlines carried nearly eight million passengers between the two countries, with the latter accounting for 4.6 million.

China was Vietnam's biggest source of foreign tourists with 5.5 million arrivals in 2019.

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