Yangon-Hanoi flights to boost tourism sector

A recently launched direct flight service between Yangon and Hanoi is opening up tourism opportunities for both Myanmar and Vietnamese businesses, tourism experts said last month.

Mr Tony Pham Ha, the owner and chief executive of Hanoi-based Luxury Travel, said his company had already received a number of bookings for package tours to Myanmar.

“Many Vietnamese Buddhists want to do a pilgrimage to Myanmar, and many businesspeople want to seek investment opportunities there,” Mr Pham Ha told The Myanmar Times by email last month.

“I’m very upbeat about this. Although this is a new destination and just at the promotion stage, we’ve already received lots of inquiries from tourists in Asian and Western countries,” he added.

Luxury Travel will operate a luxury package with a Myanmar partner company, Yangon-based Golden Image Travel and Tours.

On March 2, Vietnam Airlines, the country’s largest carrier, began direct Hanoi-Yangon-Hanoi flights, with services scheduled for every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

U Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, Vice Chairman of the Myanmar Marketing Committee (MMC) said the new route would boost Myanmar’s tourist arrivals.

“It will also increase connectivity with the member states of ASEAN and potentially boost arrivals of tourists from third countries,” he said.

Luxury Travel and Golden Image are also offering Vietnam packages for Myanmar tourists, Golden Image managing director U Htun Lwe said.

“We will operate from March when Vietnam Airlines starts to fly to Myanmar. In the future we will also jointly offer package tours from Myanmar to Vietnam," he said.

Mr Pham Ha said he hope to welcome Myanmar people to visit and holiday in Vietnam.

“We are working with tour operators and travel agents from Myanmar to promote Vietnam. We would like them to do a familiarisation (FAM) trip to see the highlights of our country; the cities, beaches and world heritage sites, such as Halong Bay,” he said.

Luxury Travel is promoting Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay as its three main destinations in Myanmar. Tour prices will start from US$1799 per person for a private party of two people and is valid for bookings and travel before March 31, 2011.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar attracted 1864 Vietnamese travellers in 2009, up from 1084 in 2008. (Source: The Myanmar Times)

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