Tourism wants visa exemption for developed countries

By Hoang Phong    November 17, 2023 | 03:18 pm PT
Tourism wants visa exemption for developed countries
A group of European tourists board a luxury train from Hanoi to Da Nang, October 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Leading hospitality and tourism businesses have urged the Vietnamese government to offer unilateral visa exemption for citizens from developed countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and Middle East region.

Nguyen Thai Hoai Anh, deputy general director of hospitality giant Sun Group, told at a meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh this week the government should consider waiving unilateral visas for citizens of countries with large tourism spending such as Australia, Canada, the U.S. and Middle East countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the government portal reported.

According to the 2022 Statistical Yearbook of the General Statistics Office, American visitors spent an average of US$1,710 while visiting Vietnam in 2019, ranking third after Filipino ($2,257) and Belgian ($1,995).

Australian and Canadian visitors were among 10 biggest spenders in Vietnam at $1,416 and $1,315 respectively.

Anh also suggested resuming direct routes with Russia to welcome back visitors from Eastern Europe.

A representative of Vietnam's largest private company Vingroup which operates luxury resorts and hotels nationwide, also called on the government to adopt flexible visa exemption policy for some key tourist markets.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, chairwoman of the Board of Directors of budget airline Vietjet, said that tens of thousands of hotel rooms in popular tourist hotspots such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ha Long "have been frozen."

Entertainment complexes and restaurants have witnessed sluggish business, she said, adding urgent actions should be made so that airlines can attract many tourists to Vietnam during the peak tourism season next month and early next year.

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.

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