As Thai visitor numbers soar, more flights take off to Vietnam

By Hoang Phong   June 6, 2019 | 09:06 pm PT
As Thai visitor numbers soar, more flights take off to Vietnam
Tourists visit Linh Ung Pagoda in the central city of Da Nang. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai
A boom in Thai tourist arrivals has prompted carriers to increase the frequency of daily flights to Vietnam.

Thailand topped the growth of foreign tourist arrivals to Vietnam in the first five months of this year at a whopping 47.5 percent year-on-year rise to 215,000, according to the General Statistics Office. The growth in Thai arrivals surpassed that of Vietnam’s two biggest feeder markets, China and South Korea.

Thai Vietjet Air, a joint venture between VietJet Air and Thailand’s Kan Air, said it is considering to opening more daily flights carrying Thai visitors to Vietnam’s famous travel destinations, especially Da Nang and Da Lat.

Da Nang City in central Vietnam and Da Lat, a popular resort town dotted with French colonial villas with year-round cool weather in the Central Highlands, are two among the most favorite tourist destinations for Thai holiday-goers.

Ranon Viputsiri, head of commercial operations at Thai Vietjet Air, was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying the number of Thai tourists to Vietnam has surged since mid-April during the long-holiday period in Thailand.

The number of Thai passengers flying with the airline grew 30 percent during the period. Most of them came to visit the Ba Na Hills and the Golden Bridge in Da Nang, or to Da Lat.

People work on a tea farm in Da Lat. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai

People work on a tea farm in Da Lat. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai

Since April this year, Thai Vietjet Air has been operating three flights daily – up from two – on the Bangkok-Da Nang route while Bangkok-Da Lat has been upgraded to a daily service, with the frequency of five flights a week.

Bangkok Airways is planning to open two direct flights connecting Bangkok with Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province and the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in the coming time, raising the airline’s total direct air routes to Vietnam to six.

The Van Don Airport, which opened last December, is just 50 kilometers from Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO natural heritage site.

Earlier this year, the airline launched a direct route from Bangkok to the central coastal town of Cam Ranh, an hour south of its much busier sister Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province. The service was the airline’s fourth route to Vietnam, after Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Hanoi.

Currently, Vietnam offers visa exemptions for tourists from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Thailand.

Vietnam welcomed 7.3 million arrivals during January-May, up 8.8 percent from a year ago, putting the country on track to meet its annual target of receiving 18 million foreigners this year.

While the country is in the midst of a tourism boom with a record high of 15.5 million foreign arrivals in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 20 percent, the numbers have remained lower than that of neighboring countries in the region. Thailand (38 million), Malaysia (25 million) and Singapore (18.5 million) remain far ahead of Vietnam.

At a National Assembly session last year, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said that the country needs to stop relying on crude oil and focus on tourism to sustain its economic growth.

"It's better to get one million tourists than try to find one million tons of crude oil because tourism is more eco-friendly and safer for the economy."

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