Vietnam-India flight brings new wave of tourism

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The Ganges, a popular destination for Vietnamese people in India. A new flight opened on November 5, 2014 between Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai and New Dehli. Many hope the flight will boost travel between the countries. Photo: H.T. The Ganges, a popular destination for Vietnamese people in India. A new flight opened on November 5, 2014 between Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai and New Dehli. Many hope the flight will boost travel between the countries. Photo: H.T.

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Vietnamese tourism agencies sought to capitalize on new air traffic from India by bringing a delegation over to study the market.
A source from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) said they have cooperated with Vietnam Airlines and private Indian carrier Jet Airways to fly representatives from 22 leading Indian travel agencies and a group of journalists to Vietnam between November 23 and 29, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online reported.
The daily Ho Chi Minh City and Mumbai/New Delhi route, which transit in Bangkok, opened on November 5 following a codeshare agreement between Jet Airways and Vietnam Airlines.
Insiders said the service will help raise arrivals from India ten-fold in just a few years.
Only 10,000 passengers arrive, on average, each year.
VNAT and the Indian Embassy in Hanoi will hold a conference on Saturday, November 29, with members of the hospitality industry in both countries, the news site said.
The source said they will offer more field trips in the near future, for Bollywood film crews as well.
Vietnam designated India as a potential tourism market three years ago, but the lack of air connectivity hindered its development, insiders said.
During the first week that Jet Airways offered the new flights, 77 percent of seats were filled, Jet Airways Naresh Goyal said at the ceremony to launch the service on November 12.
Goyal called that a positive sign--one that could prompt his carrier to open a new route between New Dehli and Hanoi, next summer.
He said the service was driven by the increasing commercial and religious activities between the two countries.
Vietnamese exports to India rose 46 percent between 2008 and 2012, he said, adding that many Vietnamese Buddhists are now planning pilgrimages to India and the surrounding areas.
Pham Ngoc Minh, general director of Vietnam Airlines, said around 46,000 people flew between India and Vietnam in 2013--a figure that jumped by 25 percent in the first half this year.
Jet Airways commands a fleet of 106 aircraft that carry around 24 million passengers, and takes in an average of US$3.3 billion a year.

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