Lack of international flights into the central region is bogging up tourism development, incurring heavy financial losses.
Tourism in Vietnam’s central region is
suffering losses of around US$72 million a
year due to a lack of direct air routes
connecting to international access points,
according to a recent report submitted by a
conglomerate of 17 tourist companies,
tourism management agencies and airliners.
The report, titled “Vietnam’s central
region, a link with the rest of the world,”
attributes losses to low occupancy rates at
the region’s major beach resorts.
Its findings reported that last year’s
occupancy rates at seven resorts in Da Nang
City and Quang Nam Province – Furama, Palm
Garden, Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand,
Riverside, Victoria Beach, Life, and The Nam
Hai – ranged from a high of 76 percent to a
low of 41 percent.
Due to the shortage of customers, these
resorts lose an estimated combined total of
around $198,000 a day, or $72.27 million per
Da Nang City hosts few direct flights from
abroad, while Vietnam’s flagship airline –
Vietnam Airlines – has not introduced
convenient transfer services to the central
region from the northern capital of Hanoi or
Ho Chi Minh City’s southern hub.
For example, most international flights
arrive in Hanoi and HCMC in the evening and
passengers are reluctant to transfer to Da
Nang City via a night flight.
If waiting to take a connecting flight the
next morning or afternoon, the hassle of the
long layover deters tourists from making the
Additionally, booking domestic tickets for
international tourists on major holidays is
a difficult affair as flights tend to fill
up quickly with traveling locals.
Of the more than 3.5 million international
tourists to Vietnam in 2006, only 250,000
(7.2 percent) and 800,000 (22.3 percent)
visited Da Nang City and Quang Nam Province
In 2007, 4.2 million tourists visited the
country but only 315,000 (7.5 percent) and 1
million (23.9 percent) of these visitors
ventured to those two places, according to
The Ministry of Transport and the Central
Airport Authority late last year began the
construction of Da Nang City’s international
airport terminal with a capacity to receive
four million passengers a year.
Work is scheduled for completion in the
first quarter of 2010.
Currently, Vietnam Airlines offers four to
five daily direct flights from HCMC to Da
Nang City and four from Hanoi to Da Nang.
Tour operators in the central region have
proposed that Vietnam Airlines run one more
weekly flight from HCMC and Hanoi to Da Nang
and open new routes from Da Nang to
Singapore (two flights a week), Hong
Kong/Macau (four a week), and Seoul,
Tokyo/Osaka, Kuala Lumpur, and Australia
(three a week for each destination).
Singapore’s Silk Air now operates five
weekly flights from Singapore to Da Nang and
Angkor Wat, with a seat occupancy rate of 80
percent a flight, and is planning to raise
the number to seven flights per week.
In July this year, South Korea’s Asiana
Airlines will also open a route to Da Nang
with two flights per week.
Local tourism companies say that if the
planned routes are realized, Da Nang City
will receive 4,536 visitors a week.
If a person stays there for three days and
spends an average of $220 a day, the central
city will gain nearly $3 million a week.
Stakeholders of the report believe that with
improved infrastructure, an attractive
natural environment and luxury resorts, Da
Nang City and other localities in the
central region have great potential to
attract tourism upon enhancing air
Reported by Dang Ngoc Khoa