15:40 | 10/09/2019 Culture & Tourism
(VEN) - The launching of a direct flight between the eastern Indian city of Kolkata and the Vietnamese capital city of Hanoi by the Indian carrier Indigo, and the start of direct flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and New Delhi by the Vietnamese budget carrier Vietjet Air will provide great opportunities for tourism development between the two countries.
Vietnam, an attractive destination
Over the past three years, tourist exchanges between the two countries have risen over 20 percent per year. Last year, as many as 132,371 Indian visitors came to Vietnam, an increase of 21 percent compared to a year earlier, while a total of 31,408 Vietnamese tourists visited India, a year-on-year increase of 32 percent. In the first seven months of 2019, Vietnam welcomed 88,565 Indian arrivals, an increase of 19.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma said around 25 million tourists from India travel abroad every year and are among the world’s highest-spending globetrotters. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.
Many Indian tourists are increasingly interested in Vietnam thanks to its safe travel environment, beautiful landscapes, friendly people, delicious food, and Buddhist sites and traditions.
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau said the strengthening of tourism promotion activities and the opening of direct flights between Vietnam and India will turn Vietnam into an attractive destination for Indian tourists.
Strengthening tourism promotion
With its big population, strong middle class and high spending in traveling abroad, India is an important potential market for Vietnam’s tourism industry, and should be targeted for promotion efforts.
Pranay Verma said India is known for its rich heritage, culture, and architecture, with many forts, palaces, archaeological ruins, temples, and churches. With thousands of years of history, India is blessed to have many beautiful and historically important monuments spread all over the country. Visitors can also experience a wealth of sports, cultural and leisure activities, such as meditation, yoga, Buddhist tourism, sailing on the Ganges River, and skiing in the Himalayas. Wellness tourism and medical tourism are also potential tourist draws, with world-class hospitals, modern medical equipment, and enthusiastic and experienced staff.
To boost tourism links between the two countries, the Indian Embassy in Vietnam and India’s Ministry of Tourism organized the “Incredible India Roadshow” in Hanoi. The event attracted a delegation of 17 tour operators, destination management companies, and the tourism departments to introduce India’s diversified tourism products and services to Vietnamese travelers and tourism enterprises.
Willy Boulter, chief strategy officer at Indigo, said Indigo is one of India’s largest airlines with about 200 aircraft and is hoping the launch of direct flights will increase tourism in both directions.
In particular, India has implemented positive policies to attract tourists in recent years, such as an e-visa facility, now available to nationals of 169 countries and territories, including Vietnam, valid for entry through 28 designated airports and five designated seaports; the launch of the “Incredible India” website and a mobile app introducing India as a holistic destination, listing major experiences like spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga and wellness; and a free 24/7 tourist support hotline in different languages.