Vietnamese carriers keen to fly to Thailand amid tourism boom

By Hoang Phong   December 3, 2019 | 12:10 am PT
Vietnamese carriers keen to fly to Thailand amid tourism boom
Thailand’s Pattaya City is one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia. Photo by Shutterstock/Andy Tran.
Vietnamese airlines are increasing the number of flights to Thailand to cash in on a two-way boom in tourism.

Thailand was Vietnam’s fastest growing tourist market in the first 11 months of this year, with arrivals increasing by a whopping 47.1 percent to 451,000, according to the General Statistics Office.

In comparison, the numbers from Vietnam’s two biggest markets, China and South Korea, grew by 15.3 percent and 22.4 percent.

Travel within ASEAN, of which both Thailand and Vietnam are members, is visa-free.

Around one million Vietnamese visited Thailand in 2018, taking Vietnam into the kingdom's top 10 tourism markets, the Tourism Authority of Thailand reported.

Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air on Monday announced plans to begin a direct service between Ho Chi Minh City and Pattaya, which has the world's largest red light district and been the busiest tourist destination in Southeast Asia for years. The daily service will begin on December 23.

Vietjet Air currently has HCMC-Bangkok, Hanoi-Bangkok and HCMC-Phuket flights. Phuket is one of Southeast Asia's top beach destinations

Last month national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines launched Da Nang-Bangkok and HCMC-Phuket flights. The former is a daily service while the latter being a thrice-weekly service. Previously, the carrier had only run HCMC-Bangkok and Hanoi-Bangkok flights.

Da Nang, home to beautiful My Khe Beach and a neighbor of UNESCO heritage site Hoi An, received 7.6 million tourists last year, 2.87 million of them foreigners, a 23.3 percent increase year-on-year.

According to Mastercard, Vietnam has the second fastest growing outbound market in the Asia Pacific region after Myanmar, with annual growth projected at 9.5 percent between 2016 and 2021. Some 7.5 million Vietnamese are expected to travel outside the country in 2021, it said.

The number of foreigners visiting Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year is estimated at 16.3 million, up 15.3 percent from a year ago and a record high, according to the General Statistics Office. 

As the year draws to a close, the tourism industry is well placed to meet its annual target of 18 million foreign visitors.

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