|An Indian tourist shops at Ben Thanh Market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Approximately 85,000 Indian tourists visited Vietnam in 2017, a 30% year-on-year growth rate, Randir Brar, an executive from Destinos India, said at a working session between the New Delhi-based travel firm and Vietnamese tour operators in Ho Chi Minh City.
For comparison, he added, 1.6 million Indians spent their holidays last year in Thailand.
This means there is still room for Vietnam to attract more Indian holidaymakers in the future, Brar said.
The Destinos India representative expressed his belief that Indian arrivals to Vietnam will continue to soar, once the direct route between the two countries is launched at the end of this year as planned.
Low-cost Vietnamese carrier Vietjet is working with related agencies and ground services to prepare for the launch of a nonstop service between Ho Chi Minh City and New Delhi by the end of this year, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish revealed last month.
The air route, having been approved by the Indian government, is expected to allow more Vietnamese tourists to visit India, Harish was quoted by The Saigon Times economic newspaper as saying on May 8.
The nonstop flight will help passengers avoid transit time and only spend around six hours traveling between the two countries, thus promoting bilateral tourism, Brar elaborated.
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism also expects tourist numbers from India, one of its key markets, would grow three to four times in 2018.
The southern metropolis has had plans to focus on serving tourists from India through quality restaurants and accommodations.
On the other hand, some 50,000 Vietnamese visited India in 2017, and the figure is expected to rise to 70,000 - 75,000 this year, according to Brar.
Indian travel companies are looking to introduce new tour packages to the Vietnamese market, he added.
In addition to the existing pilgrimage, medical and yoga tours, Indian companies have also designed a multi-destination journey for guests to visit Nepal and Bhutan from India, he said.