Vietnam may be a relatively new destination for the Indian market but is seeing strong travel demand – the number of visas issued daily by the embassy in India has grown 24 times compared to the pre-pandemic period.
At the Outbound Tourism Summit organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) last week in New Delhi, Vietnam’s envoy to India, Pham Sanh Chau, said: “Prior to the pandemic we used to issue 250 visas per day in India. However, recently we issued 6,000 visas in a day.”
Four years ago, direct air connections were absent between the two countries. Indian travellers had to take connecting flights from Singapore or Thailand to access Vietnam.
Direct flights and Indian travellers’ desire to explore new destinations in proximity are some of the reasons behind this spurt in demand, opined Pham.
In light to rising interest in Vietnam, the destination will also court Indian weddings and business events.
Presently, three Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata – have direct connectivity to Vietnam via Vietjet. The airline recently announced plans to offer more direct connections to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in 4Q2022.
Rajeev Kale, president & country head, Holidays, MICE, Visa with Thomas Cook (India), said: “Vietnam is seeing an uptick (in interest) not just from corporates, but also families, young professionals, millennials and couples. Indians are open to a shift in destinations to those that offer convenient short-haul access and (are) easier on the wallet.”
According to travel consultants, outbound travel sentiment in India is at an all-time high after the Covid-induced lull. However, Schengen visa processing delays in India at present are pushing Indians to favour alternative, less cumbersome destinations like Vietnam.
“Reopening of air travel has resulted in (an) uptick in consumer confidence and we are witnessing significant travel appetite. Given the current visa challenges for Europe, our internal data indicates definitive uptick for our closer to home and easy visa destinations – with demand up by 30 to 35 per cent month-on-month,” said Daniel D’Souza, president & country head – Holidays, SOTC Travel.