Fri, 19th Apr 2024 00:02 (GMT +7)

Breakthrough visa policies needed to boost tourism: insiders

Monday, 25/03/2024 | 15:05:00 [GMT +7] A  A

More breakthrough, open and facilitating visa policies are needed to attract foreign tourists, thus fulfilling the target set for this year, insiders have said.

Breakthrough visa policies needed to boost tourism: insiders hinh anh 1
Vietnam aims to serve about 18 million international visitors and 110 million domestic tourists this year. (Photo: thanhnien.vn)


The Vietnam National Authority of Tourism (VNAT) under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the country aims to serve about 18 million international visitors and 110 million domestic tourists, and earn some 840 trillion VND (33.89 billion USD) from the sector this year.

Vietnam now waives visas for travelers from 25 countries, with 13 enjoying unilateral exemption.

Since August 2023, Vietnam has issued e-visas for all nationalities and extended their maximum stay from 30 to 90 days, with unlimited entries. Those who get visa waivers under Vietnam's unilateral exemption policy can now stay for 45 days rather than the earlier 15.

Experts have described the visa policies as a tool to sharpen the competitiveness of the domestic tourism industry. Thanks to them, Vietnam has become friendlier in the eyes of foreign holidaymakers.

According to the VNAT, Vietnam welcomed more than 3 million foreign tourists in the first two months of this year, up 68.75% year-on-year and equivalent to 98.5% of the pre-COVID-19 level.

In terms of source market, the strongest recovery was seen in Asia with a year-on-year rise of 77.8%, followed by Europe with a 76% increase; and Oceania, 36.5%.

The Southeast Asian region has experienced a fierce race in tourism with some strong competitors of Vietnam such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore rushing to waive visa requirements and simplify entry procedures for international tourists.

Given this, experts and tourism insiders share the view that Vietnam needs to further relax its visa policies to gain a competitive edge as compared with others in the region.

Specifically, Vietnam should unilaterally expand visa exemption for citizens of countries with a higher level of development, large tourism spending and long-term stays, while piloting visa exemption for short periods (from six to 12 months) for those from some promising, large-scale markets like China and India, they said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is negotiating with 15 countries for mutual visa exemption, and with 80 others for exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders.

The ministry said it will step up negotiations and sign international treaties with a number of countries on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders.

The MoFA has also coordinated with the Ministry of Public Security to propose expanding the list of eligible countries for unilateral visa exemption, and improving infrastructure to facilitate e-visa granting.

Source: VNA