DALAT, Vietnam (June 29, 2010) – New routes announced by Vietnam Airlines have linked the country’s two premier golf destinations. Starting June 30, Vietnam Airlines revives its Dalat-Danang service, making extended holidays – golf and otherwise – far more convenient.
Dalat is home to Dalat Palace Golf Club, the oldest and most acclaimed course in the country. The mile-high gem opened in the 1930s and has since garnered a slew of awards from publications as prestigious as Golf Digest (USA) and Asian Golf Monthly.
The Danang area, on Vietnam’s development-mad Central Coast, has witnessed the opening of two world-class golf facilities in the past 10 months – the Colin Montgomerie-designed Montgomerie Links Vietnam and the Greg Norman-designed Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club. A comprehensive golf-marketing cooperative designed to further promote the Central Coast, www.vietnamgolfcoast.com, will go live in July.
Montgomerie Links and Danang Golf Club are separated by nothing but a boundary marker; they share the same swath of sandy coastline. With the revival of these new airline routes, Vietnam’s top three courses are separated by a short, 30-minute flight.
“It’s been a long time – 13 years, to be exact – since Vietnam Airlines flew between these two tourism hubs,” said Antoine Drappier, assistant general manager of Dalat Palace Golf Club, host to June’s Vietnam Amateur Open. “The time is right to restart it because Danang now has what only Dalat had before, and that’s truly great golf. From that standpoint, it’s only natural to link the destinations.”
Those who book before June 30 and travel between that date and July 15 will be rewarded with one-way tickets for US$25 – 50 percent off the regular price.
“It’s a bargain to fly in Vietnam and it’s a bargain to golf in Vietnam,” said Howie Roberts, general manager of Danang Golf Club. “Hopefully golfers will recognize that and take advantage of the service.”
Vietnam Airlines will operate 70-seat ATR72 aircraft on the one-hour route, flying Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Both Dalat and Danang are linked, via multiple daily flights, with Vietnam’s two international hubs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Montgomerie Links General Director Jon Tomlinson noted that Danang’s new international airport will open in just six months’ time.
“At that point, Danang as a destination in general should really take off, as it is already so well located, geographically,” Tomlinson said. “The majority of major Asian cities will be able to fly direct here within the magic 2 hours.
“With great weather year-round, so many attractions and world-class hotel and resort developments already in place, and more under construction, we expect a significant increase in tourists. This will further develop the bustling Central Coast economy and increase the GDP of its citizens.”
Danang already accommodates international flights from Singapore and Guangzhou, and Shanghai Airlines will commence a regular scheduled charter service from Shanghai twice a week. Vietnam Airlines also operates a regular scheduled charter from Hong Kong.
“The latter two flights are expected to undertake a regular schedule if the tour operators currently selling these routes can achieve a high passenger load,” explained Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, general manager of the celebrated Nam Hai resort in nearby Hoi An. “This confluence of new domestic and international routes obviously makes access to Danang far more convenient.
“With all this in place, we see the Central Coast as the first Vietnamese destination fully equipped to compete with the best of Asia’s beach destinations.”