More S. Korean carriers descend on central Vietnam seaside

By Hoang Phong   December 18, 2019 | 02:55 am PT
More S. Korean carriers descend on central Vietnam seaside
Nha Trang is one of the world's most beautiful bays, according to Germany-based World Bays' ranking in 2009. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Tu.
Nha Trang’s increasing popularity has prompted major South Korean airlines to add more direct flights to the balmy beach town.

Asiana Airlines, South Korea's second-largest carrier, commenced a direct route from Seoul to Nha Trang in central Khanh Hoa Province on Monday.

In a Tuesday announcement, the airline confirmed the first flight departed Incheon Airport on Monday, using the 159-seater A320 aircraft. The new route will be operated daily, with a flight time of over two hours.

Asiana now boasts five routes to popular Vietnamese destinations, including capital Hanoi and economic hub Ho Chi Minh City.

Starting Wednesday, low-cost carrier Air Seoul will run seven direct flights per week to Nha Trang in diversifying its Southeast Asia services, amid falling interest in Japan.

In May, budget airline T'way Air had started four direct flights a week between Daegu City and the popular beach town. 

Korean Air Co., the largest airline in South Korea, alongside three low-cost carriers T'way Air Co., Eastar Jet Co. and Jeju Air Co., also operates flights to Nha Trang, famous for its long sandy beaches and little-known islands.

Last year, Nha Trang received 83,000 South Korean tourists, double the number a year ago. South Koreans spend $739 on average while visiting the beach town, provincial tourism department data shows.

The number of South Koreans to Nha Trang reached over 80,000 in the first 11 months of the year, a record increase of 319 percent against 2018.

Vietnam is a leading destination among South Koreans, ranked third after Japan and mainland China, with visitor numbers expected to increase 30 percent to four million this year, according to Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI), released by Mastercard last July.

South Korea is one of Vietnam's top trade partners and investors, with electronics giant Samsung making up almost 25 percent of the country's exports last year at $245 billion.

In 2018, the number of South Korean visitors to Vietnam grew by 44 percent year-on-year to over 3.4 million, accounting for more than a fourth of all foreign arrivals (15.5 million), Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) reported.

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