PM urges visa policy changes to facilitate foreign tourist entry

By Viet Tuan   January 9, 2023 | 12:37 am PT
PM urges visa policy changes to facilitate foreign tourist entry
Foreign tourists drink beer on Bui Vien pedestrian street in HCMC on New Year's Eve, December 31, 2022. Photo by Dinh Van
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered relevant agencies to simplify administrative procedures in grating e-visas to foreigners and to change current visa policies to better facilitate tourist entry.

The prime minister’s decision came as a result of Vietnam lagging far behind several Southeast Asian neighbors in tourism recovery, despite an early reopening.

Chinh urged the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism to complete a plan to attract international tourists in the post Covid period and to submit it to the government for approval by the end of this month.

At a meeting last month on the recovery of international tourism post Covid-19, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung proposed the government extend visa-free stays for foreign tourists to 30 days and to grant visa-on-arrival for foreigners at immigration points.

Hoang Nhan Chinh, general secretary of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, said the country should expand the list of countries eligible for visa waivers with a maximum stay of up to 45 days as Thailand has done.

Deputy Minister of Public Security Luong Tam Quang argued visas are not the only thing hindering the recovery of tourism.

He said that since March 15, the ministry "has completely restored the visa policy to what it was before the pandemic."

Currently, citizens of 80 countries and territories can apply for an e-visa to enter Vietnam without going through a guarantor agency or organization, Quang added.

However, many foreign tourists hoped the government would bring back the multiple-entry three-month visa that was available before Covid.

Vietnam only received 3.6 million foreign tourists last year, just 70% of its target.

It targets 8 million for this year.

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