Favourable visa policy to help tourism sector: Experts

The Government’s proposal to loosen the visa policy to foreigners is expected to facilitating international arrivals and enhancing the competitiveness of Vietnamese tourism, according to experts.
Favourable visa policy to help tourism sector: Experts
Favourable visa policy to help tourism sector thrive: Tourists at the Golden Bridge in Da Nang. (Photo: VNA)

Under the proposal, which has been submitted to the National Assembly, the validity of e-visas will be extended to 90 days from the current 30 days, with single and multiple entries, and it will be granted to citizens of all countries and territories, while the duration of temporary residence at the border gate for people entering the country under the visa exemption categories will also be increased from 15 days to 45 days.

Vice Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) Pham Van Thuy said that loosening visa policy will be a new step forwards for Vietnam to catch up with other countries in the region and the world, giving best conditions for tourists to enter Vietnam.

Experts asserted that once the Government’s proposal is approved, the tourism sector and the VNAT should be responsible in popularising the new policy to the international community through diverse communication activities.

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) analysed that favourable visa policy can help increase international arrivals by 5-25% per year.

A study on the impact of visa exemption on five West European countries by the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) showed that the average number of visitors from these countries to Vietnam has increased nearly 20%. This proves that changes in the visa policy towards more flexibility and openness are always the "key" to attracting international visitors, creating a great breakthrough for tourism.

Since March 15, 2022, when tourism reopened, Vietnam has started to re-apply the bilateral and unilateral visa exemption policy, in which citizens of 12 countries have enjoyed visa exemption under unilateral visa exemption scheme while those of 13 countries, including 11 European countries have also enjoyed the exemption under bilateral scheme. Vietnam has also issued e-visas to citizens of about 80 countries.

The extension of the visa-free duration is also expected to help Vietnam attract visitors who enter Vietnam for trade and investment purposes in combination with tourism. Travel firms also proposed visa exemption for MICE or golf tourists.

In the recently released White Book on 2022-2023 period, which is themed working toward a green economy and sustainable development and fully implementing the EVFTA and completing the ratification of EVIPA, the EuroCham clarified that the entry visa policy is one of the levers that have the greatest impact on the flow of international tourists. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are seeking ways to expand the scope of visa exemption. This will help improve competitiveness, attract direct investment and increase the flow of international tourists, thereby increasing foreign currency revenue and creating more jobs, it said.

Therefore, the Government’s proposal is highly applauded by the tourism sector as an effective measure to boost its growth.

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(Source: VNA)