Historic Flight Connection: Kochi and Ho Chi Minh City Linked with Direct VietJet Flights

Historic Flight Connection: Kochi and Ho Chi Minh City Linked with Direct VietJet Flights

By Author

Published on August 19, 2023

Travel between Kochi, India, and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, just got easier with the inauguration of a direct route by VietJet. This strategic move enhances connectivity and trade prospects between these two vibrant cities.

VietJet's innovative spirit shines as it becomes the first Vietnamese airline to establish direct flights between Kochi and HCMC. Operating four times a week – on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – these flights provide a swift journey of approximately 5 hours, bridging geographical distances with ease. This achievement adds to VietJet's success in establishing direct flight connections to key Indian cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, and Ahmedabad.

Departing from Kochi at 11:50 PM, these flights land gracefully in Ho Chi Minh City at 6:40 AM, ensuring seamless travel for both outbound and inbound passengers. To celebrate the launch, VietJet offers an exclusive promotion to Indian travelers until December 31, 2023. With one-way all-in tickets starting from INR 5,555 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, this offer makes exploring new horizons more accessible until March 31, 2024.

Direct Flight Connection: Kochi-Ho Chi Minh City

This significant step marks the 45th direct flight link between Kochi and various Southeast Asian cities.

VietJet's inaugural direct flights between Kochi and Ho Chi Minh City are a milestone for Cochin International Airport, further enhancing the city's connectivity. The new link strengthens the total number of direct flights connecting Kochi with different Southeast Asian cities to an impressive count of 45.

Jay L. Lingeswara, Vice President of Commercial at VietJet, expressed appreciation for the enthusiastic response from passengers of both nations. The inaugural flights operated at full capacity, demonstrating the growing demand for direct connections between Kochi and Vietnam. Lingeswara's optimism about expanding this connectivity by introducing additional flights from other cities in Vietnam to the Kochi route emphasizes the commitment to seamless travel and stronger ties.

Flight VJ1811, operating four days a week, departs from Ho Chi Minh City at 7:20 PM, arriving at Kochi airport by 10:50 PM. The return flight, VJ1812, takes off from Kochi at 11:50 PM and lands in Ho Chi Minh City at 6:40 AM.

This historic flight route sets a milestone for Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), establishing the first direct air link between Kerala and Vietnam. The connection opens doors for business and leisure travel, affirming CIAL's role as a significant hub for international travel.

CIAL's commitment to passenger excellence is evident, with 89.82 lakh passengers handled in the fiscal year 2022–23. With a goal to surpass one crore passengers in the current financial year, CIAL solidifies its position as the country's third-highest airport for international passenger traffic.

TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

TUI Group Expands Hotel Operations into Sub-Saharan Africa

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 20, 2024

TUI Group, a prominent tourism organization based in Germany, is set to expand its footprint in the hotel industry by venturing into Sub-Saharan Africa. Building upon its robust presence in North Africa where it operates 76 hotels, TUI plans to introduce eight new properties across several key destinations including Cape Verde, The Gambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Kenya.

The expansion not only signifies TUI's growth strategy but also marks the launch of its new luxury hotel brand, The Mora, with its inaugural property, The Mora Zanzibar, slated to open soon. This luxury brand is designed to offer contemporary luxury and tailored services, setting a new standard in high-end hospitality in the region.


Artur Gerber, Managing Director of TUI Blue, highlighted the strategic intent behind the expansion: “With our diverse hotel brands, we aim to create novel hotel experiences in Africa for various target groups—from budget-friendly holidays at TUI Suneo to luxury experiences at The Mora. We are excited about contributing to the African hospitality sector and collaborating with local communities.”

In addition to The Mora, TUI is also introducing the TUI BLUE Watamu in Kilifi County, Kenya. This 117-room hotel represents the first TUI Blue branded hotel in Kenya and is being developed in partnership with Sands of Darakasi Resorts.


Wesam Okasha, Head of Global Development at TUI Blue, emphasized the collaborative efforts: “This project in East Africa is a prime example of our commitment to sharing our expertise and developing new hotels on the African continent in partnership with local entities. We are actively seeking further franchise opportunities to continue our expansion.”

TUI Group’s strategic focus in East Africa includes key destinations like Mauritius, Tanzania, and Kenya, with a current portfolio that boasts over 90 hotels and more than 30,000 rooms across seven countries. This expansion aligns with TUI’s broader goal to diversify its global presence and enhance its offerings in emerging tourism markets.

Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

Extendam Acquires Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 18, 2024

Extendam, a prominent player in the hospitality sector, has made waves with its recent acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel from Aliseda Inmobiliaria, a subsidiary of Blackstone. This strategic move adds another gem to Extendam's portfolio, marking its seventh operation in Spain.

Strategically located in Seville's bustling Torneo Empresarial business district, the 4-star hotel boasts 140 keys, a restaurant, fitness center, and meeting rooms, making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers. Notably, the hotel underwent a refurbishment of its common areas in 2023, ensuring a contemporary and inviting ambiance for guests.


Partnering with Continuum Hospitality Group for operations, Extendam is poised to offer exceptional services and experiences to patrons of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla. With its prime location adjacent to a bus and metro station, proximity to San Pablo airport and Santa Justa train station, and easy access to Seville's attractions, the hotel caters to a diverse clientele.

Jean-Marc Palhon, President of Extendam, expressed optimism about the investment, citing Seville's robust tourism sector and favorable market conditions. He highlighted Seville's status as the fourth most visited city in Spain, emphasizing its resilience to seasonality and potential for revenue growth.

Continuum Hospitality Group's expertise in the Spanish market further solidifies Extendam's confidence in this venture. The partnership underscores Extendam's commitment to delivering excellence while adhering to stringent ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards set by both Extendam and the Hilton brand.


In line with Hilton's sustainability initiatives, the hotel management will prioritize environmental conservation, particularly in addressing water scarcity and reducing energy consumption.

The transaction received support from BPCE and CBRE, further underscoring the collaborative efforts behind this successful endeavor.

Extendam's acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Sevilla Hotel reflects its strategic vision and commitment to enhancing the hospitality landscape in Spain. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and guest satisfaction, Extendam and its partners are set to elevate the guest experience while driving value for stakeholders in the vibrant city of Seville.

Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

Saudi Arabia Announces Plans for Oxagon, the World’s Largest Floating Structure in Neom

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia is set to redefine industrial and economic development with its ambitious project, Oxagon, touted to be the world's largest floating structure. Part of the expansive Neom development in the northeastern region of the Kingdom, Oxagon is strategically positioned on the Red Sea, near the bustling shipping lanes of the Suez Canal.

Designed with a unique octagonal shape, Oxagon will combine onshore and offshore developments with a significant portion extending into the Red Sea. The city is planned to serve as both a port and a logistics hub, enhancing Neom's role as a centre powered by renewable energy within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative. This initiative aims to diversify the nation’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.


One of the project’s striking features will be the division between the land-connected base and its massive floating counterpart, which is claimed to be the largest of its kind globally. The floating section is expected to feature innovative water-filled squares and small canals, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and an oceanographic research centre.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasised that Oxagon will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification in Neom and across the Kingdom. He noted, "Oxagon will contribute to redefining the global approach to industrial development in the future, focusing on environmental protection while simultaneously creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth."


The project also aims to enhance Saudi Arabia's role in regional and global trade, positioning Neom as a new key player in international trade flows. This development is part of the broader Neom project, which includes various other futuristic initiatives like The Line, a 170-kilometre-long city designed to house nine million people with minimal environmental impact.

As Oxagon takes shape, it stands as a testament to Saudi Arabia's forward-thinking approach to blending advanced technology with sustainable urban planning. However, the Neom project continues to face scrutiny over sustainability practices and the impacts on local communities, highlighting the challenges of undertaking such transformative developments.

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