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Tourism industry insiders urge govt to ease visa requirements

By Hoang Phong   August 18, 2022 | 04:32 am PT
Tourism industry insiders urge govt to ease visa requirements
Foreign tourists hang out at Ta Hien beer street in Hanoi's Old Quarter, March 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Tung Dinh
Tourism industry insiders called on the government to expand the list of countries qualified for visa waivers and prolong visa-free stays to 30 days to lure more visitors to Vietnam.

At a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on Wednesday, Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, director of the HCMC Department of Tourism, proposed the government order the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider waiving visas for more countries, instead of the present 24.

She also urged the government to extend visa-free stays for tourists from Western European countries from the current 15 to 30 days because Westerners tend to make longer trips, Vietnam News Agency reported.

She also expected the government to simplify e-visa issuance procedures to facilitate tourist entry.

Nguyen Thien Phuc, product manager of Ho Chi Minh City-based Vidotour Indochina Travel, also petitioned the government to remove visa obstacles to attract foreign tourists for the rest of the year.

Nguyen Van Hung, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, admitted though Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign tourists, its visa policies are less attractive than neighboring countries.

Earlier, he proposed expanding visa exemption for tourists from the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India to boost recovery.

In the first seven months this year, Vietnam received 733,000 foreign arrivals, only 15 percent of this year’s target.

Vietnam reopened its borders to foreign tourists last November before allowing quarantine-free entry from March 15.

In addition to 24 tourism markets eligible for 15 to 30-day visa exemption, Vietnam now only issues a one-month single-entry e-visa to visitors from other countries.

Many foreigners have expressed hope that the government returns to the three-month visa policy that was the norm before the pandemic.

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