Saturday, April 28th, 2007
AirAsia to fly direct to Ho Chi Minh City by year end
HANOI: Low-cost carrier AirAsia is expected to have a Ho Chi Minh City-Kuala Lumpur weekly direct service by year end to help meet the target of 100,000 tourists from Vietnam for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia is expected to have a Ho Chi Minh City-Kuala Lumpur weekly direct service by year end to help meet the target of 100,000 tourists from Vietnam for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said yesterday this will supplement its present seven direct services a week between Hanoi and Kuala Lumpur.
In view of the brisk growth in tourist arrivals from Vietnam so far this year, AirAsia is expected to have the additional service by the fourth quarter, he told Bernama here. We hope they can do it soon. Lim noted that at present there are 39 weekly direct flights between Vietnam (from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) and Malaysia by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia dan Vietnam Airlines.
However, tourist agencies here complain that this is still insufficient and is stifling the growth of tourist traffic, he said.
Feedback from these agencies show that more tourists want to come to Malaysia, especially during the peak seasons of April-May and August-September but they are finding it difficult to get seats. The tourist agencies here want the Tourism Ministry to step in by helping to increase the number of flights or for larger aircraft to be used, he said.
We will talk to the airline operators soon. On Thursday, Lim attended a closed-door meeting with airline companies and tourist agencies here.
Lim said he was told that tourist agencies here want a mechanism created to set the ticket fares to make it easier to create attractive travel packages.
The agencies told me that MAS has different levels of fares and this makes it difficult for tourists to decide on the tickets to book, and it also makes it difficult for them to promote the packages here, he said.
I will meet MAS officials to see what can be done so that visitor arrivals arent jeopardised by the situation. Last year, 63,866 tourists from Vietnam came to Malaysia, a 21 per cent increase from the 2005 figure.