VIETNAM Airlines’ (VNA) new direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to London’s Gatwick Airport, launched late last week, are expected to be a boon for the country’s inbound tourism prospects.
The flag carrier operates a Boeing 777 aircraft on the service, which departs from Hanoi on Mondays and Thursdays, and from HCMC on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Laurent Kuenzle, Asian Trails group managing director, said: “All additional air capacity to Vietnam from any carrier is most welcome, not only in view of the increase in capacity, but also with the marketing activity by the airline focusing on Vietnam, as well as the flexibility to invite tour operators, travel agents and press trips.”
Exotissimo Travel Vietnam general manager George Ehrlich-Adam said while the new VNA flights would mainly boost inbound traffic from the UK, additional seats on Turkish Airlines flights to Vietnam, as well as increased frequencies on services from France and Russia, would all contribute to hike capacity into the country.
VNA’s new UK links have also contributed business to areas outside of Hanoi and HCMC, with Furama Resort Danang’s executive assistant manager, Nguyen Duc Quynh, saying the property had seen heightened interest from many UK tour operators during the recent World Travel Market in London.
Nguyen said the property had managed to seal a deal with a UK tour operator for a total of 10 groups, each staying seven nights and taking 15 rooms, over the first six months of 2012.
By Sirima Eamtako