“Vietnam – A paradise of Southeast Asia” was the theme of a tourism promotion gala in New Delhi, India, on November 26 that attracted the presence of many tour operators from both countries.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh, in his welcome speech, made it clear that Vietnam is a not-to-miss destination since it is home to an array of UNESCO-recognised world heritages, relic sties, stunning beaches and busy shopping malls.

Vietnam welcomed nearly 7.5 million foreign visitors last year and 6.6 million in the first ten months of 2014. However, only 30,000 Indians come to Vietnam annually, far fewer than the numbers of Indians who visit Thailand (1 million), Singapore (900,000) and Indonesia (200,000).

The ambassador said few Indian visitors come to Vietnam due to a lack of information on Vietnamese tourism market and direct air route from India to Vietnam.

He expressed hope that things will change after the recent launch of a direct flight route linking New Delhi and Ho Chi Minh City by India’s Jet Airways, and with the plans of more direct flights between the two countries next year by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and budget airline VietJet Air.

Girish Shankar, Additional Secretary of Indian Tourism, said Vietnam is a pillar of India’s Look East policy.

India greeted over 12,300 Vietnamese visitors last year, and since 2011, it has applied visa-on-arrival procedures for Vietnamese citizens with the aim of encouraging more Vietnamese to visit the country, he said.

At the event, Vietnamese and Indian tour operators introduced their tour services to participants.-VNA