The southern central province of Binh Thuan welcomed the first tourists, 14 Russians, travelling by seaplanes on January 3 after the first two flights from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport landed on Bau Trang Lake in Hoa Thang commune, Bac Binh district, at noon.

The flights by seaplanes linking HCM City and the province’s Mui Ne are operated by the Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Company.

During more than an hour on board, visitors can enjoy the southern central part of Vietnam with outstanding places of interest such as the Ke Ga light house, the beach of Phan Thiet city, and the Mui Ne resort area.

Thai Hoang Dung, a representative of the Hai Au company in Mui Ne, said their seaplanes are produced in the US and can fly at around 300km per hour. Each aircraft is able to carry 12 passengers, but the firm lets only six to eight people go on board to ensure safety.

The company will offer two flights by seaplanes from HCM City to Mui Ne every day, he added.

Hai Au is the first firm in Vietnam to be licensed to operate seaplane services for commercial purposes. It launched a tourist seaplane route from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province in September, 2014, and plans to expand similar services to other destinations in central and southern Vietnam such as Nha Trang, Da Lat, Con Dao, Phu Quoc, and Can Tho.

The opening of the seaplane route is hoped to diversify tourism services in Binh Thuan, which welcomed more than 3.7 million tourist arrivals with 11 percent being foreigners, and earned nearly 6 trillion VND (285.7 million USD) from the sector in 2014.-VNA