Vietnam considers extending visa exemptions for tourists from Western Europe

By Bui Hong Nhung   April 28, 2016 | 12:40 am PT
Vietnam considers extending visa exemptions for tourists from Western Europe
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has sent a proposal to the Prime Minister outlining a plan to extend visa exemptions for tourists from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

Under the current law, visitors from these countries can stay for no longer than 15 days in Vietnam without a visa. The law went into effect on June 18 last year and comes to an end on June 30 this year.

The ministry said that the move had attracted more tourists but large travel enterprises remained hesitant to promote tours to Vietnam before more preferential policies are issued. They said the government should increase visa exemption period to 30 days as well and shift the deadline to 2020.

The ministry added that after 10 months of visa exemptions, visitor numbers from the five countries have witnessed significant growth. Over the nine-month period since July 2015, the number of visitors increased by 13.91 percent on year to touch more than 550,000, according to data from Vietnam’s General Statistics Office. 

A survey by the General Department of Tourism estimated that each visitor spends about $1,300 in Vietnam. The increase of visitors from the five countries due to changes in visa exemptions brought Vietnam more than $171 million.

The ministry also suggested that Vietnam should grant visas at border gates or deliver electronic visas to attract more visitors.

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