Vietnamese airlines are racing to launch additional direct routes to Asia's major cities, cashing in on the country's rising outbound tourism demand
Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air on Saturday opened a daily direct flight from Da Nang, home to the beautiful My Khe Beach and a neighbor of UNESCO heritage site Hoi An, to Hong Kong, with a flight time of one hour and 45 minutes. This is its third route to the financial hub of Asia after HCMC-Hong Kong and Phu Quoc-Hong Kong.
On Friday, Vietjet Air also commenced a daily service from Da Nang to Singapore that takes two hours and 40 minutes. Earlier, Vietjet Air opened four direct flights per day connecting Hanoi and HCMC with Singapore.
On Thursday, the first Vietjet Air flight from Da Nang to Taipei took off, taking around three hours. Earlier, Vietjet Air launched two direct flights connecting Hanoi and HCMC to this Taiwanese city.
Vietnam Airlines on December 15 launched a direct flight from Hanoi to Macau, known by many as Asia’s gaming capital with its many casinos, with one flight a day taking around one hour and a half.
Vietjet Air became the first Vietnamese carrier to fly to India, with its maiden flight leaving for New Delhi from HCMC on December 6 at four flights a week. A day later, the first flight from Hanoi to the Indian capital took to the sky. The direct air routes help cut traveling time between the two countries from 15 to six hours.
Bamboo Airways began operating direct flights from Da Nang to Seoul in October, its first regular international route, commencing its second between Nha Trang, a famous beach resort in central Vietnam, and Seoul on November 15. Both routes offer one round-trip flight per day.
Vietnam’s fifth airline was planning to open a direct flight from Hanoi to South Korean city Incheon in December next year.
Agoda last week crunched booking data for December 31 to identify the 10 most popular destinations to ring in the New Year for Vietnamese. Included were Asian tourist hotspots Bangkok (3rd), Singapore (6th) and Taipei (9th). The remaining seven were all Vietnamese destinations.
The world's leading online accommodation reservations provider noted Vietnamese holiday-makers favor famous Asian cities and are willing to spend more on foreign jaunts.
Travel industry insiders said rising incomes and economic growth have spurred many Vietnamese to spend more on foreign travel.
Vietnam ranked second in the world for real salary increases in 2020 with its average income rise next year projected at 5.1 percent, up from 4 percent this year, according to the annual Salary Trends Report released last month by U.K.-based global data and research house ECA International.
A 2017 World Bank report stated the country was seeing an increasing number of people, estimated at 1.5 million each year, joining the middle and upper class ranks.
Global real estate consultant Knight Frank earlier this year said the number of extremely rich individuals in Vietnam is set to grow at the fastest rate in the world: by 31 percent in the next five years. Vietnam had 12,327 millionaires in 2018, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to the company.
The country is expected to achieve a nearly 7 percent economic expansion this year, following a decade-high 7.08 percent last year.
According to Mastercard, Vietnam has the second fastest growing outbound market in the Asia Pacific region after Myanmar, with projected annual growth of 9.5 percent between 2016 and 2021. The firm has forecast that some 7.5 million Vietnamese will venture outside the country in 2021.
In the other direction, tourists from many Asian countries like China, South Korea and Japan also consider Vietnam one of their most favorite destinations, proving to be the country's biggest feeder markets and providing better than ever business opportunities to Vietnamese airlines.
Other Asian markets like Thailand and India saw arrivals to Vietnam increase by a whopping 41 percent and 39 percent in the first 11 months of the year respectively, according to General Statistics Office.