Mon, Jul 25, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taichung talks to Vietnamese airline in bid to turn south

Staff writer, with CNA

In line with the central government’s “new southbound policy,” Taichung is aiming to establish a travel network with a Vietnamese airline to boost the number of Southeast Asian tourists to Taiwan.

The Taichung Tourism Bureau said the city is in talks with VietJet Air, a Vietnam-based budget carrier, over opening routes between Taichung and Nha Trang and Danang — two central Vietnamese coastal cities.

Once the routes between Taichung and Nha Trang and Danang are open, the program is to be expanded to include Tainan and Kaohsiung, as well as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, the bureau said.

After the planned network to connect the three Taiwanese cities and the four Vietnamese cities is established, foreign tourists would have a new way to explore central and southern Taiwan, while Taiwanese can take advantage of the new routes to visit Vietnam, the bureau said.

Mandarin Airlines now operates a route from Taichung to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while VietJet opened a Ho Chi Minh City to Tainan route last month.

Since the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May, local governments in central and southern parts of the nation, including Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, have been keen to explore tourism and business opportunities with Southeast Asian nations as a means of embracing the government’s “new southbound policy.”

The bureau is planning to print leaflets and make short films in Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai in a bid to persuade tourists to visit central Taiwan, Taichung Tourism Bureau Director Chen Sheng-shan (陳盛山) said.

The city plans to employ tour guides who can speak Southeast Asian languages and to make sure there are restaurants and hotels that cater to Muslim visitors, he said.

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