Vietnam mulls lifting midnight curfew to pull in more tourists

By Vy An   May 10, 2017 | 12:00 am GMT+7

Restaurants and bars across the country could keep their doors open until 2 a.m.

Vietnam's Tourism Association has submitted a proposal to the government asking for recreational establishments to be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. The proposal comes ahead of the 2017 Prime Minister with Enterprises Conference that will take place on May 17.

Some localities still ban establishments such as nightclubs and karaoke bars from opening past midnight. This regulation limits their businesses and makes it impossible for them to entertain many foreign tourists who want to party on into the night, according to the association.

The new proposal is expected to help pull in more foreign tourists. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Yen

The new proposal is expected to help pull in more foreign tourists. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Yen

Under the new proposal, these establishments would be allowed to open until at least 2 a.m., encouraging foreign tourists to stay longer and spend more.

Hanoi launched a pilot scheme last September that allows restaurants and bars in Hoan Kiem District to stay open until 2 a.m. over the weekends.

The association has also asked the government to extend visa exemptions for tourists from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belarus. The current scheme, ending on June 30 this year, would be extended until 2022 if the proposal is approved.

A plan to offer visa exemptions for tourists from India, Australia, Canada, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia will also be discussed at the conference.

These proposals are aimed at boosting visitor numbers to 18-20 million in 2020, according to the Tourism Association. Vietnam is expecting to welcome 11.5 million foreign arrivals this year, up 15 percent from 2016.

Vietnam has also been offering e-visas to visitors from 40 countries since February 1.