Tourists visiting Halong Bay could soon be able to explore the natural wonder by seaplane.
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam’s (CAAV) has outlined a plan to introduce seaplanes to the UNESCO World Heritage site, and authorities in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province have agreed that the scheme could be a good way of boosting tourism.
“We fully agree with the idea of using seaplanes to the development of tourism in Quang Ninh. With the advantage of 250km of coastline… the launch of seaplane routes will satisfy the need of international tourists,” Ha Quang Long, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism was quoted saying by Vietnamnet.
Last month, the CAAV conducted a study of the seaplane plan, at the request of Hai Au Aviation, which is proposing to operate the flights.
The CAAV’s deputy director, Dinh Viet Thang, noted that the area’s long coastline created favourable conditions for seaplane services. The plan now appears to have been almost rubber-stamped, with services expected to commence next year.
“It is expected that by the end of 2014 the seaplane service will be put into operation in Halong Bay. Initially, Hai Au… will import two seaplanes,” Thang was reported saying.
Hai Au Aviation plans to use Cessna Grand Caravan 208B EX seaplanes, which seat up to 12 passengers. The aircraft can take-off on both land and water.
Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourism attractions, comprising approximately 2,000 islands, most of which are limestone. Currently tourists are only able to explore the area by boat, with several operators offering overnight cruises around the bay.