Industry Groups Propose Improvements to Vietnam’s Visa-Free Scheme
30 June 2017 is the deadline for Vietnam’s current visa-free scheme for citizens visiting from Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. For two years this plan has granted tourists from these countries a 15-day visa-free period in Vietnam.
Calls for Extension
However, industry groups such as Vietnam’s Tourism Advisory Board and Vietnam Tourism Association are calling for a five-year extension of this scheme with an increase of the validity period to 30 days. In addition, these groups would like to add more countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand to the waiver, as written in a proposal recently sent to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Image source: visavietnam.travel
Made up of industry stakeholders including major tour operators and hotels, the latest move comes after Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism set a target last July to welcome 20 million foreign visitors in 2020, part of an overarching effort to turn tourism into a major economic sector.
According to Nguyen Xuan Hai, director of the company La Palanche Voyages, "Tourists now only visit for 15 days. If the visa exemption duration is extended to 30 days, the industry could get an extra of up to US$1,500 per visitor. The total revenue would increase significantly.”
Image source: vietnambreakingnews.com
Vietnam has been offering single-entry visa exemptions to Western-European countries since mid-2015 and arrivals from these markets increased between 13-32 percent in the first four months of 2017 compared to last year. These positive results show a huge potential in this sector.
This comes after the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranked Vietnam the lowest among ASEAN countries in international openness.
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