Vietnam tourist arrivals to Thailand on pace for record year
Despite Vietnam?s currently sluggish economy that is expected to have a GDP growth 5.04% to 5.35% this year, Vietnamese tourist arrivals to Thailand are on pace to surpass arrivals in 2012. More than 618,000 Vietnamese came to Thailand last year.
The first five months of 2013 saw Thailand receiving 260,621 Vietnamese visitors, a rise of 10.40% over the corresponding period in 2012. The economic slowdown in Vietnam is having a beneficial effect on Thai tourism as travelers look for short-haul holiday destinations to save costs. Taking advantage of this trend, earlier this month VietJet Air, a low-cost carrier of Vietnam, launched a Hanoi to Bangkok service, flying seven times a week. The Hanoi flights are in addition to those from Ho Chi Minh City that the airline started in February this year. The VietJet Air flights bring the total of air connections between Vietnam and Thailand to 104 flights weekly.
Thailand is proving to be a popular holiday spot for Vietnamese tourists due to the country?s proximity to Vietnam, its attractive value for money and its good range of tourist attractions. Apart from the flights, overland travel is becoming a favorable option because of the presence of many Indochina roads crossing from Vietnam into Laos and ending in Thailand. Tourist traffic from Vietnam?s central region covering Hue, Danang and Quang Tri has risen significantly since the opening of the second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge spanning the Mekong River at Savannakhet in Laos and Mukdahan in northeastern Thailand.
Mr. Thanik Khachonkittisakul (Nguyen Van Tho), Managing Director of Thai2020, a Thai tour operator serving the Vietnamese market, says, ?Our company has been receiving many Vietnamese tour groups from early this year, and we have plenty of future bookings till year?s end. Many are opting for the big-city shopping opportunities of Bangkok and the seaside entertainment atmosphere of Pattaya.? His company is also getting some large MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions) groups from Vietnam as Vietnamese corporations dish out trip rewards to their employees and vendors for past sales performance. Mr. Thanik adds, ?Vietnamese companies are finding out that Thailand is a great place to have meetings and corporate activities. We have a wide selection of affordable accommodation all over the country, and our convention support services and logistics facilitation are among the best in Asia.?
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