Proposal to extend visa exemption policy
(National Times)- Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) has submitted a proposal to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on visa exemption policy for foreign tourists to Viet Nam.
Accordingly, TAB stated that the requirement and convenience in visa policy have a direct impact on the number of foreign tourists to Viet Nam. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to improve the visa policy, making it easier for international visitors to the country.
|Illustrative image. (photo: vnexpress)|
In 2015, the growing rate of foreign tourists to Viet Nam was only 0.9 percent, reaching approx. 8 million. Meanwhile, Thailand welcomed 30 million international visitors, up by 20 percent. One year later, Viet Nam hosted 10 million oversea visitors, an increase of 26 percent which notably exceeded Thailand’s growing rate for the same year. TAB believes that the easier and more convenient requirements in Vietnamese visa policy have strongly influenced the number of foreign tourists to the country, especially those from developed markets, such as Europe, Australia, Canada, USA etc.
In July 2015, Vietnamese government decided to apply visa exemption for passport holders from five Western European countries, including England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain within one year. On Jun 30, 2016, this policy was extended for another year. The statistic figures showed that the total number visitors from these five countries increased by an average of 15.4 percent within 12 months since the visa exemption policy came into effect. In 2016, the growing rate of visitors from these countries reached 18.4 percent despite being affected by the expiry date of the visa exemption policy.
According to TAB’s proposal, the government should consider extending the visa exemption policy from 1 year to 5 year, increasing the length of stay from 15 to 30 days, and allowing tourists to return to Viet Nam within 30 days if holding a return flight tickets. TAB also recommended to expand the list of visa waiver countries, including all major European countries and other major trade partners of Vietnam, especially Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
TAB fully supported the electronic visa program which has been piloted for citizens in 40 countries, and suggested to apply this program to Australia and New Zealand because both countries have direct flights to Viet Nam etc.