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Airport infrastructure a hindrance to tourism development

Released at: 11:26, 06/12/2018

Airport infrastructure a hindrance to tourism development

Photo: Nghi Do

Vietnam Economic Forum (ViEF) 2018 Travel & Tourism Summit hears of issues facing tourism industry.

by Nghi Do

Bottlenecks in airport infrastructure will be a major challenge for the development of Vietnam’s tourism industry, Deputy CEO of Vietstar Airlines, Mr. Luong Hoai Nam, said at the Vietnam Economic Forum (ViEF) 2018 Travel & Tourism Summit held on December 5.

Since 1975, he went on, Vietnam has only built Phu Quoc International Airport and the new Van Don International Airport, with the remainder mostly being upgraded from military airports on limited land areas.

Vietnam now has 21 airports, while Thailand has 38. Capacity at all of Vietnam’s airports is 75 million passengers per year, or only one-third of Thailand’s and equal to just one airport in Bangkok, Changi in Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

Airports are also overloaded. Capacity is 75 million per year but last year 95 million were welcomed and this year it is expected to be 105 million. Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City has the highest capacity, with 25 million passengers, but has been overloaded for many years and upgrades have been slow.

Mr. Nam also proposed solutions to improve the quality of airport infrastructure. In particular, the key issue is to encourage and create conditions for the private sector to build new terminals and airports, as happened at Van Don.

Refining aviation infrastructure, including private sector participation, is one of four important proposals Mr. Ngo Minh Duc, Chairman of the HG JSC, said would promote Vietnam’s tourism industry.

Mr. Tran Trong Kien, Chairman of the Travel Advisory Board (TAB) and General Director of the Thien Minh Group, said that demand in aviation needs to be met. The number of airlines in Vietnam is only one-third of Thailand’s, while quality of services lags behind. Vietnam should therefore create opportunities to develop more new airlines, he said.

In Vietnam, he went on, the proportion of foreign ownership in aviation businesses is relatively low compared to the region, at around 30 per cent. Cambodia allows 100 per cent while Myanmar allows 49 per cent. The ratio in Vietnam should be expanded to create opportunities for foreign investors to enter the market.

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