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Central Vietnam Continues Remarkable Transformation Into Asia’s Hottest New Tourist Destination

New world-class resort and leisure playground set to firmly establish Da Nang, Hoi An and iconic coastline on the East Sea on global tourism map

(Hong Kong, May 15, 2017) – Just four years since welcoming direct international flights, central Vietnam is fulfilling its promise as Asia’s hottest new tourist destination.

The upgrading of Da Nang International Airport has heralded a veritable tourism boom for Vietnam’s long-overlooked region.

Until then, it took the best part of a day’s travel from Hong Kong – involving a tiresome transfer to a domestic flight in Hanoi – to reach resorts stretching along 30 kilometres of iconic coastlines on the East Sea between laid-back Da Nang and the fabled UNESCO World Heritage port of Hoi An.

Today, the door-to-door journey takes just two hours – and what a dramatic difference that flight connectivity makes.

From four million tourists in 2014, Da Nang expects 6.3 million in 2017 – and double-digit growth for the foreseeablefuture. Da Nang International Airport’s newly opened terminal 2 increases capacity to welcome 12 million tourists a year.

Direct flights from Hong Kong have soared since Cathay Dragon launched the first three-times-weekly service in 2013, with frequency increased to daily in 2015.

Low-cost carrier Hong Kong Express has since followed with three fights a week, while budget carrier Jetstar Pacific this year became the third airline to fly the route, also with three flights a week.

Bangkok Airways and Malaysia-based AirAsia meanwhile fly daily between Da Nang and Bangkok, while VietJet Air has just commenced Da Nang-Seoul flights.

Amid this surge in popularity, Da Nang is now on the route radar of 20 international carriers – with direct connections also from eight cities in China, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand.

Central Vietnam’s 30 kilometres of iconic coastline on the East Sea has long attracted visitors, and isrecognized as one of the World’s most beautiful coastlines by Forbes.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, My Son Sanctuary.

While firmly established on the tourism map, central Vietnam is also extending its traditional appeal of beautiful coastlineson the East Sea and three UNESCO World Heritage sites – picturesque Hoi An, the imposing Hue Citadel and ancient ruins of My Son – to new areas.

Recently, the region has also emerged as Vietnam’s golf capital.

Three world-class signature courses have opened along the iconic coastline – Colin Montgomerie’s Montgomerie Links(2009), Greg Norman’s Da Nang Golf Club (2010) and Nick Faldo’s Laguna Lang Co (2013). Last year Luke Donald designed a fourth, Ba Na Hills, in a former French colonial hill station half an hour’s drive inland from Da Nang.

As Asia’s highest-trending golf destination, Da Nang’s emergence on the regional golfing scene was underlined this year with the city hosting Asia-Pacific’s premier golf travel event, the 6th Asia Golf Tourism Convention. Hundreds of attending golf tour operators will have immediately recognised the potential of four world-class courses in close proximity for ideal ‘golf getaways’ in easy reach of enthusiasts from across Asia.

To further enhance appeal, local tourism authorities are also rolling-out stronger marketing initiatives – with 2017 the busiest year yet for colourful events to excite and entertain visitors.

The annual Da Nang International Fireworks Festival, for the first time extends over two months this year.
Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The annual Da Nang International Fireworks Festival, a highlight of the cultural calendar, for the first time extends over two months this year (from 30 April to 24 June 2017), with dazzling pyrotechnic shows by eight international teams.

Auxiliary festivals around the fireworks extravaganza include festivals celebrating Cham culture, sculptures, international cuisine and beer, along with festive street parties.

Historic Hoi An is meanwhile turning on the charm by switching-off its lights to flicker in candlelight for monthly Full Moon Lantern Festivals.

The region is also cashing-in on its appeal for international sporting events. Over 1,330 triathletes from 59 countries recently contested Ironman 70.3 Vietnam. Next up, the 2017 RS: One World Championships is a major international windsurfing event (10-14 June); and the Manulife Da Nang International Marathon (6 August) is Vietnam’s first professional marathon certified by the sport’s international confederation.

Da Nang’s growing stature in regional politics was meanwhile boosted by hosting this year’s 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Senior Officials Meeting, attended by 2,000 domestic and international delegates. In November, the city will welcome leaders from around the world for the APEC-High-Level meetings.

Encouragingly, central Vietnam is also a hot new location for Hollywood, attracting the first Hollywood movie filmed in Vietnam. The latest King Kong film Kong: Skull Island, has shot amazing scenes in the giant UNESCO World Heritage listed Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng caverns, as well as Halong Bay, one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

For all its efforts, Da Nang was voted ‘Asia’s Leading Festival and Event Destination’ at last year’s World Travel Awards, the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’.

And as the tourism boom continues, a giant US$4 billion venture to the south of Hoi An is set to consolidate central Vietnam as Asia’s hottest new resort destination.

Now under development, Asia’s ultimate fully-integrated tourism and leisure destination, named ‘HOIANA’, is scheduled to open the first of several phases in Q1 2019.

Phase 1 will be headlined by a world-class casino; an ultra-luxury resort by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts; a 445-room hotel and 200 condos; and a championship golf course/country club by Robert Trent Jones II.

Recreational facilities will include a beach club and entertainment venue for live shows and events, watersports and dive centre, and a promenade packed with bars and restaurants.

Over the next 10-15 years, HOIANA’s master development plan invites investment in a host of complementary tourism and leisure-related projects envisaged through subsequent development phases.

The ultimate vision is a thriving township of hotels, residential and lifestyle zones, trendy beachfront village, convention centre, hospitality training college, water sports hub, and a giant lagoon for safe year-round swimming.

“HOIANA is set to rank among Asia’s most renowned resort destinations, bringing a self-contained world of entertainment, leisure, pleasure and luxury lifestyle,” said HOIANA Head of Business Development, Ms. Amy Do. “This unrivalled, world class integrated resort and leisure playground which will set a new benchmark for high-end tourism in Vietnam, bringing economic prosperity and opportunity to Quang Nam province. To the visitor, Vietnam’s central coast offers an immersive and multifaceted experience – there’s something for everyone, while for enterprise, it’s the land of golden opportunity.”

Clearly, central Vietnam’s transformation into a world class tourism destination has only just begun.

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