|Tourists arrive at the Phu Quoc International Airport. This January, a direct international flight from Guangzhou, China to Phu Quoc Island will be created to meet the increasing demand of Chinese tourists who want to visit the island. — Photo phuquocexplorer.com
KIEN GIANG (VNS) — This January, a direct international flight from Guangzhou, China to Phu Quoc Island in the southern Kien Giang Province will be created to meet the increasing demand of Chinese tourists who want to visit the island.
Huynh Quang Hung, deputy chairman of the Phu Quoc's People's Committee, said the committee has been working with the Phu Quoc International Airport and China Southern Airlines to implement the new route.
The two partners agreed on three flights per week from Guangzhou to Phu Quoc on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The new route is expected to attract more tourists to the Phu Quoc, dubbed "Pearl Island", which will host the National Tourism Year in 2016.
As of October, the island welcomed more than 750,000 tourists, marking an increase of 44 per cent over the same period last year. It hopes to host 850,000 tourists by the end of the year.
Despite its pure natural beauty, the island has not attracted a large number of foreign tourists. Some international travel agencies in HCM City said tourists have not been deeply interested in Phu Quoc because the room rates there are usually higher than those in Da Nang, Cam Ranh and Phan Thiet.
In addition, recreational services offered on Phu Quoc beaches are not as diverse as those offered in other places.
Since last year, several direct international flights from Russia, Singapore and Cambodia (Siem Riep) to Phu Quoc were implemented. However, more than half of the passengers reportedly chose to travel to other provinces, and only a small number of tourists stayed on the island.
Experts are calling for the improvement and diversification of tourism products to attract more international visitors to Phu Quoc following a government decision that established favourable policies for tourists visiting Viet Nam's largest island.
In March 2014, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decision allowing foreigners who visit Phu Quoc Island to stay up to 30 days without a visa.
According to the decision, visa waivers will also be implemented for foreigners who transit at any airport or seaport in Viet Nam on their way to Phu Quoc.
The island will establish the Phu Quoc administrative economic zone, which is expected to open in 2020.
It is predicated that Pearl Island will receive 2-3 million tourist arrivals per year, with foreigners comprising 35-40 per cent of all visitors.
Many tourism companies are expecting to cash in on the new changes, including the visa exemption and new direct flights from abroad.— VNS