DANANG, Vietnam — The Central Coast of Vietnam's rising profile as a holiday destination won confirmation by three major airlines recently and is aiming for still more validation from Thailand now as tourism officials work on a direct link between Bangkok and Danang.
In July, Vietnam Airlines launched service to Danang from both Seoul and Siem Reap. The move mirrored expansions made earlier in the year by Dragonair from Hong Kong and Shanghai Airlines from Shanghai.
"The Central Coast has never been as accessible as it is right now," said Louk Lennaerts, chairman of Central Coast Vietnam (CCV), a destination marketing organization comprised of the area's premier hotels, resorts and golf clubs. "But Danang's new airport has the capacity to handle more traffic, and we're working to open those runways."
Later this month, Central Coast Vietnam representatives and members of Vietnam's Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism will conduct a roadshow to Bangkok in hopes of reopening a connection between Danang and Thailand's capital, which in May became the world's most popular tourist destination according to data compiled by MasterCard.
The Danang-Bangkok route was served by Thailand's PB Air from 2007 until 2009, when the carrier ceased operations.
Other airlines currently offering international service to Vietnam's third largest city include China Eastern Airlines (from Beijing), China Southern Airlines (from Shenzhen) and SilkAir (from Singapore), which in March introduced a sixth weekly flight.
Korean Air and Asiana Air also fly to Danang (from Seoul), which is fast emerging as a long-stay alternative to Bali and Phuket for its proximity to vast, white-sand beaches, three UNESCO World Heritage sites (Hoi An, Hue and My Son), three new golf courses designed by the game's biggest names (Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and Colin Montgomerie) and an increasing number of international 5-star beach resorts.
Due to the overwhelming demand for tickets in April and May, Dragonair added a fourth flight to its weekly Hong Kong-Danang schedule in July.