Gone are the days when Russians outnumbered any other group of international tourists at beaches and attractions across the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa, while those from China are now much easier to find.
While fewer Russian tourists are visiting Khanh Hoa, known for its beautiful resort city of Nha Trang, a number of Chinese holidaymakers are traveling to the province, especially with summer coming.
Most Chinese tourists get to Khanh Hoa via air charter, and the number of charter flights departing from China will “soar strongly” starting in July, Nguyen Van Thanh, deputy chairman of the Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa Travel Association, told The Saigon Times Online.
“There are now three to four charter flights bringing Chinese vacationers to Khanh Hoa a week, and the number will rise to ten in July,” Thanh elaborated.
Phan Thanh Truc, deputy director of the Khanh Hoa tourism department, said most Chinese tourists come to Nha Trang via charter flights offered by tour organizers.
A Chinese airline also plans to offer its own air charter service connecting China to Khanh Hoa “sometime in June,” she told The Saigon Times Online.
“We have received good growth from the Chinese market, which partially helps make up for the drop [in tourist numbers] from Russia,” she added.
On March 28, China Southern Airlines unveiled its air charter service between the Chinese province of Guangzhou and Khanh Hoa’s Cam Ranh City.
There will be infrequent flights from the Chinese cities of Chengdu and Kunming to Cam Ranh if enough bookings are received, Truong Dang Tuyen, director of the Khanh Hoa tourism department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in March.
But Chinese vacationers would not have flocked to Khanh Hoa had it not been for the provincial tourism industry’s efforts to attract them, according to Khanh Hoa newspaper.
“Chinese tourists usually have big budgets for their travel and mostly choose to take long stays of up to five days at three- to five-star hotels,” Luyen Manh Cuong, director of the province’s tourism promotion center, was quoted by Khanh Hoa as saying.
The south-central province has thus exerted effort to lure more Chinese vacationers through a number of tourism promotion activities.
On March 18, for instance, Khanh Hoa received a delegation of 20 Chinese travel companies to discuss cooperation.
The province’s tour organizers are also well-prepared to welcome the new wave of Chinese tourists, according to Khanh Hoa.
“We have brochures available in Chinese, and our tour guides are trained to speak Chinese,” Truong Quoc Thang, deputy head of planning with Yang Bay Co., told the newspaper.
“We also actively participated in conferences and meetings with Chinese travel firms to seek cooperation opportunities.”
In 2014 Khanh Hoa welcomed nearly 33,000 Chinese visitors, an 18 percent increase from a year earlier.
The province has targeted to receive four million tourists this year, with one million being international holidaymakers.