Promotion campaigns, smoother e-visa process way to attract tourists: travel industry

By Bich Phuong   April 7, 2023 | 07:29 pm PT
Promotion campaigns, smoother e-visa process way to attract tourists: travel industry
Foreign tourists in HCMC, February 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Bich Phuong
The tourism industry has called on the government to run promotional campaigns and streamline e-visa issuance to attract foreign tourists while waiting for key amendments to visa policies.

The government has submitted proposals to the National Assembly to increase the visa period from the current 30 days to three months and triple the duration of visa-free stays to 45 days for visitors from certain countries.

Lawmakers will discuss them in May.

But the travel industry said the peak season for international tourism from September to April is coming to an end, and immediate measures are needed if Vietnam is to achieve this year’s target of eight million foreign arrivals.

Dang Manh Phuoc, CEO of travel firm Outbox Consulting, said even if the government’s visa proposals are approved in May it would take at least two or three months for the new policies to take effect.

The industry should speed up promotional campaigns like Asian tourist hotspots Taiwan and Hong Kong have done recently, he said.

Taiwanese authorities announced they would hand out cash to visitors while Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific gave away 80,000 round-trip air tickets to people in Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam in March.

Nguyen Chau A, CEO of Oxalis Adventure, the company that takes people on cave tours in the central province of Quang Binh, said promotional campaigns are needed so that western tourists could make travel plans for the next peak season from September.

Due to the ongoing visa hassles, the insiders feared the number of European tourists would not be as high as expected.

The tourism industry should focus on the South Korean market, which has already sent the highest number of tourists to Vietnam since its reopening, they added.

More than 810,000 South Koreans visited Vietnam in the first quarter.

In addition to stepping up promotions, analysts said, Vietnam should also streamline the e-visa issuance process to avoid causing inconvenience to tourists.

Many foreigners have complained they struggled with the complicated procedures and long waiting times to get an e-visa, with some having to turn to agents and pay high fees.

"It is necessary to promote Vietnam’s e-visa portal in tourism markets," A said.

The insiders also called for improving passenger services at major airports, especially Hanoi and HCMC, by increasing the number of immigration officers and scanners and introducing special lanes for business travelers and families with children.

In the first quarter of this year the country received 2.7 million visitors.

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