Phu Quoc international airport in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang on February 14 welcomed the first direct international flight with 250 Russian tourists on board from Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East.

The direct service from the European country to Phu Quoc island will be conducted once a week, using Boeing 757 airliners.

It is jointly exploited by the airport, the Pegas Tourist Company of Turkey and the Anh Duong Tourist Company of Ho Chi Minh City.

Built in 2008, Phu Quoc airport received some 700,000 passengers in 2013, 37 percent of whom were foreigners.

At present, the airport is handling 25 domestic flights a day between the island and Hanoi, Can Tho city, and Ho Chi Minh City.

As many as 250,000 Russians visited Vietnam in 2013, an increase of 71 percent compared to 2012, reported the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Russian tourists are attracted to Vietnam by its warm climate, charming beaches, beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and healthy food, said the Association of Tour Operators of Russia.

Vietnam-Russia air services have been strongly developed with opening of new direct flights such as Saint Petersburg – Nha Trang and Moscow – Nha Trang.

The Vietnamese tourism authority plans to increase the number of Russian visitors to 300,000 in 2014.-VNA