Accordingly, Edelweiss, an affiliate of the Swiss International Airlines, will launch direct flights linking the two cities twice a week using A340-300 aircraft, starting from November 15, 2018.
Bernd Bauer, CEO of Edelweiss, said that the airline hopes to carry about 10,500 passengers to Ho Chi Minh City a year, raking in US$32 million.
"Vietnam is a well-known tourist destination with many recreational activities that is becoming more popular to Swiss tourists. Visitors from Switzerland often have longer duration of stay and higher expenditure than those from other countries,” Bernd said.
Edelweiss expects to carry about 10,500 passengers to Ho Chi Minh City a year.
Besides bringing tourists from Switzerland and Europe to Vietnam, the new air route is also expected to create favorable conditions for passengers to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to other places in Europe, with various destinations in the Swiss International Airlines’ network.
Vietnam received 31,475 visitors from Switzerland last year and the figure is expected to hit 35,000 this year.
To attract more visitors from Europe, including the Switzerland, the tourism administration has closely coordinated with major groups, airlines and service providers to boost tourism.
The National Administration of Tourism in May launched a meeting program for Vietnamese and Swiss travel operators with the purpose of attracting more visitors from the European country. Under the program, a delegation comprising representatives from 30 Swiss travel agents made a week-long trip to Vietnam to seek opportunities for investment cooperation.
Besides, the Tourism Advisory Board has also proposed the Government to extend a visa-free stay to 30 days from the current 15 days for citizens of five more countries including Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia as this move will attract more arrivals and encourage tourists to stay longer and spend more.
The board cited data of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the General Statistics Office of Vietnam saying that a tourist from visa waiver countries such as France, Denmark and Norway spends more than US$1,000 and their vacations often last more than 15 days.
Vietnam has been offering single-entry visa exemptions to citizens from Western European countries since mid-2015. Arrivals from the markets increased between 13-32 percent yearly on average.
According to the Tourism Advisory Board, Vietnam now waives entry visas for tourists from 23 countries and territories, but Thailand does that for 58 source markets, Malaysia 164, Singapore 160, Indonesia 169 and the Philippines 160.
Vietnam’s visa exemptions apply to short visits only, whereas tourists in the other countries can stay for up to 30 days or even 90 days in some cases.