Russian tourists at Cam Ranh Airport near the central resort beach town of Nha Trang. Photo: Nguyen Van Chung
Pegas Touristik, which brings the largest number of Russian tourists to Vietnam, is planning to start an airline here specifically meant for foreign tourists, news website Saigon Times Online quoted an unnamed source as saying Tuesday.
Abdullah Cankaya, the company’s Asia Pacific director, reportedly met with authorities in the central province of Khanh Hoa and other related officials the same day to discuss the plan.
He was quoted as saying that the airline, which will be headquartered in the province's Cam Ranh town, would help increase the number of international arrivals, especially from Russia.
The report comes amid strong declines in international arrivals, especially from Russia.
In fact, Pegas Touristik, which has brought more than 500,000 Russians to Vietnam since 2011 on charter flights, has been forced to suspend flights to both Phu Quoc Island and Ho Chi Minh City since the beginning of this year.
Statistics from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed 167,700 Russian tourists visited the country in the first half of the year, down 13 percent.
However, in their meeting, Cankaya reportedly told Vietnamese authorities that Vietnam remains a promising market.
Pegas Touristik said it brought 196,000 Russian tourists here last year, up 79.5 percent from 2013.
It was also quoted as saying that it expected its charter flights between Russia and Vietnam to increase this winter from the current 40 a month.
Pegas Touristik operates 51 aircraft, half of them in collaboration with other companies, taking Russian tourists to 22 destinations around the world, the news website reported.
Four airlines have been licensed for charter services in Vietnam -- Globaltrans Air, Vietnam Air Services Company, Vietnam Helicopter Corporation, and Hai Au Aviation.