Taipei, July 30 (CNA)－New Taipei City and EVA Airways, one of Taiwan’s major airlines, said Monday they will work together to boost tourism from Vietnam, which is a fast growing market.
As part of the initiative, they said, representatives of EVA and New Taipei will visit Ho Chi Minh City Aug. 3-5 to promote New Taipei tourism and launch discounted independent travel packages to the northern Taiwan city.
New Taipei, which has a relatively large population of Southeast Asian immigrants, has been working in recent years to attract more tourists from those countries, said city official Chen Ching-fang.
“Our campaign to promote Taiwan in Thailand over the past two years has been successful, and we are focusing on Vietnam this year,” he said.
He said the city is keen to work with EVA because it is likely to include the coastal Vietnam city of Da Nang in its network in the future.
According to Chen, about 60 percent of the foreign tourists to Taiwan usually visit New Taipei, which means that any new destination added by Taiwan airlines will boost the city’s tourism.
Tourism Bureau data shows visitor arrivals from Vietnam rose by an annual 95 percent last year to 380,000, the highest growth rate among all Southeast Asian countries.
In the first five months of this year, arrivals from Vietnam totaled 600,000, the city government said, expressing optimism over the market for EVA.
EVA Air Spokesman Ke Chin-cheng (柯金成) said the airline has been invited by the Vietnamese government to fly to Da Nang and would consider using a bigger aircraft than the Airbus A321, which it operates on its Hanoi route, as demand increases.
With EVA setting its sights on growing its transit market, he said, an increase in services to Vietnam would fit the strategic plan.
About 40 percent of the passengers that travel on EVA from Vietnam to Taiwan are in transit to North America, where the carrier operates 82 flights per week, Ke said.
It would be in the interests of both the airline and New Taipei if the city becomes a stopover destination for Vietnamese travelers, he said.