Tourism minister wants visas waived for Chinese, Indian visitors

By Viet Tuan   November 14, 2023 | 10:40 pm PT
Tourism minister wants visas waived for Chinese, Indian visitors
Chinese tourists visit the Central Post Office in downtown HCMC, June 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung has called for short-term visa waivers for major markets like China and India to drive tourism recovery.

At a conference chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday, he also suggested waivers for visitors from wealthy countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the remaining 20 members of the 27-member E.U.

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

Hung has proposed expanding the visa exemption regime to boost tourism on several occasions even as Southeast Asian countries are racing to attract foreign visitors with friendly visa policies.

Vietnam waives visas for nationals of 25 countries, while Malaysia and Singapore do so for 162, the Philippines for 157 and Thailand for 65.

The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam in the first 10 months of this year was 10 million, far above the full-year's eight-million target.

But the figure remains modest compared to its neighbors.

Thailand for instance has welcomed 23.2 million visitors. It has granted visa-free entry for Chinese nationals since September and for Indians since Nov. 10.

Since mid-August Vietnam has been issuing e-visas for people from all countries and territories valid for 90 days and multiple entries.

It also tripled the duration of stay to 45 days for citizens of the 13 countries exempted from visas.

This year China has been the second largest source of tourists with 1.3 million arrivals after South Korea's 2.9 million.

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