Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, says new direct flights between Australia and Vietnam will boost tourism and business opportunities in both countries.

Mr Pitt launched the new Jetstar Australia routes – from Melbourne and Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – during his visit to Ho Chi Minh City today.

“The new direct service will connect Vietnam and Australia’s commercial centres and further boost tourism and business links,” Mr Pitt said.

The flights will commence in May 2017, operating four times weekly from Sydney and three times weekly from Melbourne, subject to regulatory approval.

The routes will build the rapidly growing Vietnamese tourism market, which has seen a 21 per cent increase in Vietnamese visitors to Australia in the past 12 months.

“Jetstar Australia’s investment is a clear demonstration of Australia’s growing trade and investment relationship with Vietnam, our fastest-growing major trading partner in ASEAN,” Mr Pitt said.

Tourism is a $120 billion a year industry employing about one in 12 Australians and accounting for 10.9 per cent of Australia’s exports.

International tourist arrivals are at record highs, with 8.1 million visitors in the year ending October 2016.

Australia is also a leading destination for Vietnamese students abroad.

“Vietnam is Australia’s fourth-largest international education market and we want our universities to remain a preferred choice for Vietnamese students,” Mr Pitt said.

While in Vietnam, Mr Pitt attended the Executive Education and Training Showcase, involving 15 Australian education and training institutions, highlighting the potential for Australian education providers to deliver tailored education products and services in Vietnam.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Pitt also toured the main campus of RMIT Vietnam which is driving innovation and digital excellence across the country.

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