It has been confirmed that the newly constructed Phu Quoc International Airport is scheduled to open in December 2012. The primary phase will be completed on the airport which is in the southern Vietnamese province of Kien Giang and 300km miles from Ho Chi Minh City.
We previously reported that Vietnam was constructing a new airport to serve the south and Mekong Delta regions. This aligns with recent passenger traffic figures which shows Vietnam is growing hugely in popularity (something the PureTravel staff has first-hand experience of!); in fact Vietnam has the largest international tourist growth in the whole of South-East Asia.
There was a report recently that ASEAN were considering implementing a single visa system for Southeast Asia, which would encourage visitors to stay longer, visit more countries and ultimately spend more money. Travelling from the UK, USA and Canada can be expensive due to the cost of flights so once in South East Asia it makes absolute sense to travel to several countries at once. Cutting the red-tape on the visa process would be a significant encouragement to more worldwide travellers.
And travel from the UK is now more accessible than ever thanks to the introduction of daily flights between London Gatwick and Ho Chi Minh City.
Construction began in late 2008 on Phu Quoc International Airport within Duong To village representing some 900 hectares of land. Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and just 12km from the Cambodian border. The new international airport will eventually replace the existing Phu Quoc airport, currently 10km away, and which has air links with Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport and the Rach Gia Airport at the capital city of the Kien Giang province, Rach Gia.
The south of Vietnam and the Mekong Delta regions are very popular with international tourists drawn to the beaches, watersports and local culture. The area is also known for its local fishing along the coast as well as rice farming. The capital city of Rach Gia lies some 250km from Ho Chi Minh City.
The new airport is reported to cost a total of 775 million USD (16.2 trillion VND) and will handle some 2.5 million passengers annually. The airport will feature a 3,000 meter runway which will be able to handle superjets such as the Boeing 747-400, Airbus A350 and Boeing 777.
The new infrastructure will help the Phu Quoc region take full advantage of the tourism potential, with the local maritime, island and beach tourism.
By Julie Bowman