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Expansion of visa exemption policy conducive to Vietnam tourism: expert

Update: 27-02-2024 | 19:51:09

The expansion of the visa exemption policy to cover more countries is good for Vietnam tourism, said Head of the Secretariat of the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) Hoang Nhan Chinh.

Tourists visit Ngoc Son temple at Hoan Kiem lake, Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

On February 15, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh asked the Ministry of Public Security to consider expanding the visa exemption policy to citizens of some other countries based on the new situation and Vietnam’s relations with those countries.

Vietnam is currently exempting visa requirements for citizens of 25 countries, including 13 entitled to unilateral exemption, namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus.

Since August 2023, it has granted electronic visas to citizens of all countries and extended the stay from 30 to 90 days with multiple entries. Meanwhile, citizens of the countries entitled to the unilateral visa exemption have also had their stay in Vietnam extended to 45 from 15 days.

Chinh from the TAB said that innovating visa policy is a reasonable approach and a common trend that regional countries are taking to attract tourists after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing to expand the visa exemption policy will help the tourism industry diversify the markets, increase the number of international tourists to Vietnam, and encourage them to stay and spend more in Vietnam, he said.

Besides the possible increase in revenue and jobs, the policy is also expected to help raise the number of air passengers, facilitate international trade exchanges, and attract more foreign investors to Vietnam.

Chinh said that Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore - Vietnam's three major competitors in Southeast Asia – are striving to attract tourists, including by creating favourable conditions for tourists to enter their countries.

So far, Thailand has exempted visas for citizens from 76 countries, Malaysia 156 countries and Singapore 162 countries.

Chinh said that since the middle of August 2023, Vietnam has adjusted its visa policy which creates more favourable conditions to attract foreign tourists.

However, when applying for an e-visa to Vietnam, tourists still have to spend a lot of time providing personal information and waiting for approval.

Strict requirements and time-consuming procedures a major hurdle to foreign tourists when they plan to visit a country, Chinh said, adding that better visa policy will make Vietnam more attractive to visitors.

It is a short-term solution to widen the door to attract international tourist markets besides medium- and-long-term solutions to internal problems of the tourism industry such as promotion, digital marketing, product diversity, destination management, and human resource development, he said./.

VNA

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