- Published on Friday, 20 April 2018 11:00
- Written by Saigoneer.
To increase tourism, the HCMC Tourism Association has proposed visitors from more nations be allowed to enter the country without a visa.
The association has proposed applying visa exemptions to nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, the Netherlands and Belgium, according to SGGP. Vietnam receives large numbers of travelers from these nations and making barriers to entry easier would result in more visitors and closer ties.
The association also asked that visa exemptions that were previously approved on an annual basis be renewed until June 2023. In 2015, in response to increased tourism, Vietnam granted five European nations – the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy – visa-free entry for trips of 15 days or less. The rule was renewed again last year and was set to expire on June 30 of this year. The new proposal also requests the length of the visas be extended from 15 days to 30.
Vietnam’s visa system has been heavily criticized. The country only offers citizens from 23 countries exemptions compared to 169 in Indonesia, 165 in the Philippines, 164 in Malaysia and 160 in Singapore. These restrictive policies may discourage visitors that would otherwise come and contribute significantly to local economies.
Some experts have been critical of the visa’s price. The US$25 rate is relatively low and therefore doesn’t bring in a significant amount of revenue while simultaneously discouraging some visitors who are unwilling to go through the hassle of obtaining one. Ngo Minh Duc, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, explained that those who are turned off by the visa costs would have spent significantly more in the country anyways.
Vietnam is currently experiencing a boom in tourism. In 2017 foreign visitors to Vietnam increased 29.1%, reaching an all-time high of 12.9 million. It aims to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors in 2020 with annual tourism revenues of US$35 billion.[Photo via Thanh Nien]
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