Southern province seeks visa waiver for European, North American tourists

By Truong Ha   March 2, 2023 | 10:27 pm PT
Southern province seeks visa waiver for European, North American tourists
Foreign tourists get off a cruise ship that docks in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in southern Vietnam, January 26, 2023. Photo by Hac Minh
Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has called on the tourism ministry to waive visas for visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America who want to stay for long.

The southern province, home to beach town Vung Tau, also wants the period of stay allowed for tourists from key markets such as Europe increased from the current 15 days, and the travel insurance requirement for foreigners scrapped.

Its proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism comes at a time when the number of foreign visitors remains low after nearly a year since full reopening.

Despite being one of the first Southeast Asian countries to fully reopen to international tourism after Covid-19, Vietnam only received 3.6 million foreign tourists last year, or 20% of pre-pandemic numbers.

Ba Ria - Vung Tau, next door to HCMC, received 158,000, or 30% of pre-pandemic levels.

Vietnam currently waives visas for travelers from 25 countries compared to 162 by Malaysia, 157 by the Philippines and 65 by Thailand.

People from ASEAN member countries and Kyrgyzstan can visit without a visa for up to 30 days, while it is 90 days for tourists from Chile and Panama and 15 days for nationals of some European countries, Japan and South Korea, Vietnam's top tourism markets.

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