The government of Vietnam is looking at further simplifying entry conditions into the country in an effort to revive fledging international tourist arrivals to the country. The country recently introduced visa waiver for citizens of five Western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK) and has recently announced to let overseas Vietnamese to come for free to the country.
According to Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam plans now to extend the validity of the tourist visa for US citizens. The visa is now available for up to three months but it would then be extended to one year and become multiple in a bid to attract more US arrivals. However, no time frame has been provided about its implementation. Vietnam targets a million US arrivals by 2017, up from 443,776 in 2014.
The travel industry continues to put pressure on the government to have more steps taken to allow free flows of visitors to the country. The Vietnam Tourism Association is asking the government to offer visa fee waivers to all tourists between July and December this year in an attempt to avert a drastic decline in foreign arrivals.
The first effect of the visa waiver program was already felt in July with a rising number of visitors from Europe. Figures from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that foreign arrivals jumped to 593,566, 12.1% up from June and 5.1% from the same period pf last year. Despite being now in the low season, Spain arrivals grew between by 71% in July compared to June, by 73.6% for France from one month to another, by 45% for Germany,by 30% for the UK and by 18% for Italy. From January to July, total arrivals to Vietnam reached 4.4 million, still down by 9.4%. However, recovery seems on its way…