Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airway plan to launch more direct air routes connecting Vietnam’s popular tourist destinations with major cities in South Korea.
Budget airline Vietjet Air plans to launch new routes connecting South Korean capital Seoul with Vietnam’s premier tourist destinations like Da Lat in the Central Highlands and Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta.
Vice chairman of Vietjet Air, Nguyen Thanh Hung, made the announcement Thursday at the Mekong-South Korea summit in South Korea, which was attended by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea, Hong Nam-Ki.
The Seoul – Can Tho route will operate three flights per week, and the Seoul – Da Lat route will have four flights per week, beginning January 2020.
Vietjet Air currently operates two direct flights connecting Hanoi and HCMC, Vietnam’s two biggest metropolises, to Seoul.
Vietnam’s fifth airline Bamboo Airways said it was planning to open a direct flight from Hanoi to the South Korean city of Incheon in December next year.
The newly established airline began operating direct flights from central Da Nang City to Seoul, its first regular international route, last October, and launched the second regular international route between Nha Trang, a famous beach resort town in central Vietnam, and Seoul on November 15. Both air routes offer one round-trip flight per day.
Bamboo Airways was established in July as Vietnam’s fifth airline, and currently operates 27 routes. It plans to increase this to 37-40 by the end of this year, including new long-haul routes to Europe and the Americas, the carrier stated.
Last year, more than 3.4 million South Koreans visited Vietnam, a 44 percent rise year-on-year, accounting for 22 percent of all international arrivals, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
In the first nine months of 2019, Vietnam welcomed 3.1 million South Koreans, up 22.5 percent against the same period last year.
More than 450,000 Vietnamese went to South Korea last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.
In its latest move to boost tourism and attract more Vietnamese visitors, the South Korean government has announced the issuance of five-year visas for permanent residents of Vietnam’s three biggest cities, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang, for stays of up to 30 days.
Vietnam now has six domestic carriers: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), Bamboo Airways, and newly-licensed Vietstar Airlines, a military-run company.
Hospitality group Thien Minh’s KiteAir, tourism firm Vietravel’s Vietravel Airlines and business conglomerate Vingroup’s Vinpearl Air are vying to be the seventh national carrier.