Phu Quoc, also known as the Pearl Island and located in Vietnam’s southwest waters, is working to attract more foreign tourists as the number of Russian visitors has been plummeting in the region.

Phu Quoc is the largest of the 27 islands that form the Phu Quoc district of Kien Giang province.

Since February 2014, the Anh Duong Tourist Company in Ho Chi Minh City and the Pegas Touristik Company in Turkey have been operating direct flights from Russia to Phu Quoc to encourage foreign visits to the island.

The number of tourists, including Russian tourists, to Phu Quoc rose sharply in 2014, said Phung Xuan Mai, General Director of the Saigon-Phu Quoc Joint Stock Company, adding that the direct flight service was offered weekly with more than 200 seats on each flight.

The Pearl Island welcomed over 586,000 tourists last year, representing a yearly increase of 37.6 percent, and including nearly 125,000 foreigners – a 21.5 percent increase.

The island also posted an 84.28 percent hike in its tourism revenue last year to over 2.2 trillion VND (104.76 million USD), according to the People’s Committee of Phu Quoc district.

Vice Chairman of the committee Huynh Quang Hung attributed the success to a number of prominent events held on the island in 2014, such as the Khat vong tre (Youth Aspiration) art programme and the Miss Vietnam beauty pageant, as well as the launching of new international direct flights and major tourism facilities.
To make up for the decline in the number of Russian tourists, the district authorities have made substantial efforts to promote the island to international travel companies from Asian and European countries, Hung said. In addition, local businesses in the hospitality industry also offer various discounts on room and service prices.

Gregory Consyn, Manager of the Shells Resort and Spa in Phu Quoc, said his facility has an array of special offers, such as discounts on rooms, free spa services, and evening parties. The resort is now focusing on attracting travellers from Japan and the Republic of Korea and looks forward to additional flight routes linking the island and international destinations.

At present, Phu Quoc Island offers more than 4,000 hotel rooms which can accommodate 7,000-8,000 guests. A number of hotel and resort construction projects are currently under way in an attempt to cater to tourism demands and position the island towards becoming an international tourism hub.-VNA