Vietnam Ministry of Tourism Wants More Flexility in Visa Policy

Last week, Vietnam’s tourism ministry urged his government to extend the validity of the visa-free stay period for tourists from five European countries. Last July, the country moved by exempting France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK from visas. However, the validity has been only set for 14 days and the Ministry believes that the measure would carry full success if the visa validity would be extended to 30 days.
According to the Ministry, most European holidaymakers travelling to Asia would on average spend three to four weeks. The Ministry hopes also that the visa waiver system will be effective at least for five years instead of being subject to annual renewal.

The Ministry said that a proper tourism campaign needs long-term visibility to be fully effective. According to first studies, the five exempted countries generated since the beginning of the year 290,000 visitors (January-April) compared to 244,000 for the same period of 2015. This represents an increase of 18.8% in a year time.

The trade is asking the government to take more positive steps as the competition gets intense from other ASEAN countries. Indonesia for example now provides free visa on arrivals to 169 countries while Malaysia and Singapore give free visa to over 150 countries. By comparison, Vietnam abolished visa requirements for only 22 countries. The Vietnam National Tourism Administration is now asking to further expand the facility by adding another 19 countries including among others the Netherlands, Switzerland, the USA, Canada and Australia.