The Thien Minh travel group has announced that it will offer seaplane tours this September, becoming the first supplier of this kind of tourism service in the country, the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper reported.

According to the group, Thien Minh, which owns Hai Au Aviation Company, will import two Cessna Grand Caravan EX aircraft from the US Cessna Aircraft Company.

The aircraft will arrive at Vietnam’s Noi Bai International Airport in August before taking off for trial flights a month later.

They will initially operate on the Hanoi-Ha Long route, before expanding to other routes in the southern region, including those between Ho Chi Minh City and Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Can Tho, An Giang, Con Dao, and Phu Quoc.

According to Deputy General Director of Thien Minh Group and CEO at Hai Au Aviation Luong Hoai Nam, Vietnam boasts favourable conditions to facilitate seaplane tourism services with many rivers and streams and a beautiful, long coastline.

Instead of spending 3-4 hours travelling by bus from Hanoi to Ha Long, it should only take tourists 30 minutes to travel by seaplane, while experiencing scenic beauty from a height of 150-3,000 metres, said Nam. “We believe that seaplane services will bring a new and comprehensive experience for tourists, while promoting the development of Vietnam's tourism in the future.”

An expected cost of 4,000 USD, divided among the passengers, will be charged for a one-hour flight. A Hanoi-Ha Long one-way flight will cost around 250 USD per person, while an extra 100 USD will be charged for scenic flights around Ha Long Bay.

The state-of-the-art US Cessna Grand Caravan EX seaplane can carry 12-18 passengers. It has a cruising speed of 300kmph and is capable of taking off and landing at both normal airports and on the water.

Vietnam is among the top 50 most attractive tourist destinations globally, according to movehub, a website frequented by people who want to move abroad.

Welcoming approximately 6 million foreign visitors every year, Vietnam ranks 41st on the list of the most popular countries in the world to visit.

Last year, Vietnam received more than 7,57 million foreign tourists, a yearly rise of 10.6 percent.-VNA