Expand visa exemption to boost tourism recovery: NA delegates

By Hoang Phong   June 6, 2022 | 11:37 pm PT
Expand visa exemption to boost tourism recovery: NA delegates
Foreign tourists join locals to celebrate the victory of the Vietnamese men's football team at the 31st SEA Games in HCMC, May 22, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Huynh Nhi
National Assembly (NA) delegates urged the government to consider expanding visa exemption to more countries and allowing a stay of up to 30 days to increase foreign tourist numbers.

Vietnam is less open than regional countries in terms of visa policy as it currently exempts visas for travelers from only 24 countries compared to Thailand's 65 and Indonesia's 70, lawmaker Tran Thi Van told the ongoing National Assembly last week.

"It's hard for Vietnam to attract tourists with such a strict visa policy," she said.

To attract foreign tourists after reopening, Van proposed the government follow neighboring countries to offer visa exemption for more countries and prolong visa-free stay from the current 15 to 30 days with multiple entries as well as simplify the issuance of e-visas.

Nguyen Duy Minh from Da Nang also said tourism is one of the recovering industries post pandemic and an important driver of economic growth in many localities.

However, the number of foreign tourists returning to the country after reopening remains low.

He suggested the government offer an open visa policy to facilitate travel for foreign tourists and expand the list of countries qualified for visa exemption.

Tourism minister Nguyen Van Hung said his ministry would continue proposing the government to remove visa obstacles and improve human resources in an effort to meet this year's target of welcoming five million foreign visitors.

On March 15, the government allowed quarantine-free entry and resumed the visa waiver for citizens of 24 countries, including Japan, South Korea and some European ones.

It has also removed most other entry restrictions like medical declaration and Covid tests.

In the first five months of this year the country received 365,000 foreign visitors.

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