Long-haul travelers plan holidays in Vietnam after visa extension

By Hoang Phong    July 24, 2023 | 08:45 pm PT
Long-haul travelers plan holidays in Vietnam after visa extension
Foreign tourists walk in Dong Van ancient town in Ha Giang, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Bich Phuong
Many long-haul travelers from Europe and America are making plans for holidays in Vietnam after the government extended the validity of visas to 90 days and allowed multiple entry.

Peter Zimmermann of Germany and his wife plan to spend a long winter holiday in Vietnam this year.

"At the beginning of winter in November we will apply for three-month visas. Then we can tour Vietnam again like we did before Covid pandemic.

"We will first book a large apartment in Nha Trang to meet our many good Vietnamese friends there. From here we can then start our trips. This year we want to visit Hanoi, Ha Tinh, Vinh, Da Nang, and Hoi An again because we also have good friends there."

After their visas expire, he and his wife will fly to Malaysia for a few days and then return with new ones.

"We want to stay in Vietnam for about four months until the cold winter in Germany is over disappeared."

Zimmermann is one of many foreigners making long holiday plans in Vietnam after the National Assembly tripled the validity of tourist visas to 90 days and visa-free periods for nationals of certain countries to 45 days with effect from August 15.

Pawel Dejmek of Poland told VnExpress International after the visa policy was approved that he plans to return to Vietnam in September or October and stay there for a long time.

He plans to stay in Mui Ne on the central coast, famous for its beach adventure activities, adding that he and many people have been waited "very long" for Vietnam's three-month visa policy.

Data from leading online booking platform Agoda shows accommodation searches in western countries for long vacations in Vietnam increased by 33% compared to just two weeks ago when the visa rules were eased.

Agoda's data analysis focused on long-haul travelers from North America, the EU, and Australia-New Zealand, who have faced stricter visa restrictions compared to their counterparts in Southeast Asia and the broader Asia Pacific region. These travelers often endure longer and costlier return flights, making them more inclined to seek extended vacations compared to those within a shorter flight radius.

The French recorded the biggest increase with 72%, followed by visitors from the Netherlands (45%), New Zealand (41%), Germany (40%), and the U.S. (38%).

The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam last week called on the government to waive visas for the remaining 20 countries in the 27-member EU.

Now only nationals of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland can enter Vietnam without a visa.

Vietnam received 5.5 million foreign tourists in the first half of this year, 69% of this year's eight-million target.

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