Foreign tourists happy with Vietnam’s visa exemption policy
Updated : Thursday, June 28, 2018 10:34 AM (GMT+0700)

Foreignvisitors have warmly welcomed Vietnam’s continued visa exemptions for guestsfrom the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, saying the policy is good forthe country to spur tourism.

Foreign tourists visit Hue Imperial City - Photo: VNA

From the beginning of July,citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy will enjoy visaexemptions for the next three years, until June 30, 2021, as approved by thePrime Minister.

“Visa exemption is good for thecountry to open to tourism,” said Anthony Dme, a visitor from France.

Vietnam first offered visawaivers for citizens from the five European countries in July, 2015. The policyhas been updated annually and would have expired at the end of June.

French guest AnastasiaBelkacemi said the policy made people want to go because they did not have topay.

“We feel like part of Asiathat we can come in easily like Indonesia, no need visa,” Matteo Lelli, anItalian, said. 

Vietnam is among countrieswith the strictest visa policy in Asia. The country currently offers visawaivers to visitors from 24 countries and territories, including the ASEANmember countries.

The country has tried toimprove the situation with an e-visa policy which is now available topeople from 46 countries.

Minister, Chairman of theGovernment Office Mai Tien Dung has said the government would considerproposals from the Vietnam Tourism Association on the extension of the periodof stay from 15 to 30 days and expansion of visa exemptions for more countries.

Some visitors felt pleasedwith the valid time of visa exemption while others wished they could have alonger stay.

“15 days may be too short,”Matteo Lelli said. 

“When you want to go to acountry you want to stay long and see everything. So the visa exemption islonger, it’s better”, Anastasia Belkacemi from France said.

Anthony Dme, a Frenchtourist, said “I would say of course free visa for every time and everywhere isgood, but we’re still glad for 15 days.”

Michelle Armstrong from theUS said it took her three days to get e-visa to Vietnam and it was very easy.

Western arrivals to Vietnamsoared in recent years, with 720,000 in 2015, 855,000 in 2016, and 1,500,000 in2017.

In the first five months ofthis year, foreign arrivals to Vietnam surpassed 6.7 million, up 27.6 percentannually, according to the General Statistics Office. 

The number of Europeanvisitors rose by 11.8 percent year-on-year, including those from France (13.1percent), the UK (9.6 percent), Germany (8.5 percent), and Italy (18.3percent).

According to the Travel andTourism Competitiveness Report 2017 compiled by the World Economic Forum,Vietnam rose eight places in just one year to rank 67th in the world.

“The main drivers of thecountry’s T&T competitiveness are its natural resources (34th),cultural resources (30th) and price competitiveness (35th).Vietnam has made significant progress on its human resources and labour marketpillar (37th, up 18 places) scores, thanks to a better-qualifiedlabour force (53rd) and partially simplified regulations on hiring foreignlabour (75th)”, the report says.

Easier visa applicationprocedures for foreign tourists, as well as visa exemptions for visitors fromthe UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have helped attract more tourists fromthese markets, experts said.


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