90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

July 03, 2023 | 10:29
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New regulations on residence duration, entry, and exit for foreigners to Vietnam could create a boost for the inbound tourism industry this year.

The draft law on amendments and supplements to a number of articles of the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through, and Residence in Vietnam has been approved by the National Assembly at its fifth session, with more than 95 per cent of deputies agreeing. The law will take effect on August 15.

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

Visitors from countries that are unilaterally exempted from visas by Vietnam will be granted a temporary stay of 45 days, instead of the current 15 days. Meanwhile, foreign nationals from 80 countries who are being granted an e-visa can enter and exit the country as many times as they wish within 90 days, without having to go through the process of obtaining a new visa.

The new regulations have put Vietnam in the group of countries with average visa-free duration in the region, equivalent to competitors Thailand and Singapore, which also allow international guests to stay up to 45-90 days.

According to many experts, the relaxation of regulations and length of stay will quickly bring Vietnam’s tourism bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, contributing to improving the competitiveness of destinations, promoting the growth of the international tourist market, and supporting the tourism industry.

“This also creates new advantages for foreigners who want to enter Vietnam to study, survey the market, and promote investment, especially in cases where there is a need to go to many countries in the region and return to Vietnam to evaluate and compare the possibility of expanding investment and business,” said Le Tan Toi, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for National Defence and Security.

Despite being in a low period for international tourism, the country’s tourism industry still achieved impressive growth results.

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists
90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists (illustration photo/ Source: freepik.com)

Vietnam has a growth rate of 10-25 per cent, ranked sixth in the world, much higher than the general growth rate of Southeast Asia, according to Google Trends. International arrivals to Vietnam jumped to nearly 1 million in June, an increase of 6.4 per cent over the previous month. They were mainly tourists from key markets, including South Korea, China, the US, Malaysia, Japan, and Singapore.

In the first half of 2023, Vietnam’s tourism has served nearly 5.6 million international visitors and 64 million domestic tourists with total revenue from tourists reaching about $14.9 billion, according to the latest report from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations in Southeast Asia, attracting millions of tourists every year. The country received 3.66 million international arrivals in 2022 and aims to welcome 8 million this year, earning about $2.8 billion from tourism services. The new visa policy has received positive feedback from various experts and stakeholders in the tourism sector, who believe that it will facilitate economic activity and attract more international tourists and investors to Vietnam.

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

Lukasz Kozlowski CEO, MakeYourAsia

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

As a destination management company located in Vietnam like us, new visa policy is a very good and important step towards rebuilding and growing the inbound tourist market.

For groups like us, offering multi-country Southeast Asian tours, the possibility of obtaining multiple entry visas for our guests is opening new possibilities for designing itineraries in the region and bringing in more guests - not only for their first trip to Vietnam and Southeast Asia, but also for their later returns to the destinations they loved.

We are happy to see every step that will make the entry process to the country easier. We are hoping that Vietnamese authorities will soon consider to implement visa waivers for Central European countries like Poland or the Czech Republic.

Wendy Vu Country manager Qatar Airways

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

This is exciting news after months waiting. I believe many foreign tourists and Vietnamese overseas cannot wait to plan their trip to Vietnam soon. The extension to a 90-day stay will help tourists to explore rural parts of northern Vietnam that are famous for the diverse culture of different ethnic minorities, and natural beaches along central and southern coastlines. We hope the good news to be shared to more channels, including social media, press, and TV channels, along with continuous marketing activities to promote Vietnam around the world. Nevertheless, more countries should be considered to offer visa exemptions like the US, Holland, Belgium, Poland, and others.

Erkan Tuncaakar General manager Go Vacation Vietnam

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

European partner tour operators welcome the decision on extending visa-free entry and the e-visa with multi-entry up to 90 days. However, many tour operators from Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Belgium, and other EU countries have expressed their disappointment at not being included in the visa waiver programme yet. Another request from the tour operators was to make the entry regulations for Phu Quoc clearer with the new entry regulations. Different entry regulations cause confusion among travellers and travel agents.

Martin Koerner Head, Tourism Working Group Vietnam Business Forum

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

We are very pleased with the new visa policy for which we advocated for many years. This is a significant improvement that will make Vietnam more attractive and competitive as a tourism destination in the region and beyond. We commend the Vietnamese government for listening to the voice of the tourism industry and taking this important step to facilitate travel and investment in Vietnam.

The new visa policy will have positive implications for the tourism and hospitality industry, especially in the context of the pandemic recovery. It will help increase the number of international arrivals, lengthen their stay, diversify their itineraries, and boost their spending in Vietnam. It will also encourage more foreign investors to explore opportunities in the tourism sector. It will create more jobs, income, and tax revenue for the local economy and contribute to the sustainable development of Vietnam.

However, we also believe that there is still room for further improvement and simplification of the visa policy. We recommend to the Vietnamese government to consider adding more countries to the visa exemption list, in particular EU countries, Australia and New Zealand, which are important source markets for Vietnam. We also suggest that the government streamline the visa application process, enhance the online platform, and ensure consistent implementation at all border gates. We hope that the government will continue to consult with the tourism industry and other stakeholders through platforms such to address any challenges and issues that may arise from the new visa policy.

We look forward to working closely with the government and partners to promote Vietnam as a safe and friendly destination for all visitors.

Dr. Nuno F. Ribeiro Associate senior program manager Tourism and Hospitality Management RMIT University Vietnam

90 day E-visa extension expected to attract international tourists

Visa extensions are great initiatives that will drive more international tourists to Vietnam. I can comprehend the immense amount of work and inter-agency cooperation that was necessary to pass this resolution.

I would also urge the government to dedicate more efforts in supporting tertiary education in tourism and hospitality management, especially at the university level, so that the Vietnamese managerial workforce will be ready with the right skill set to correspond to increasing numbers of tourists.

This will ensure the quality of Vietnamese tourism products and set the nation up to become a first-class tourism destination worldwide.

Visa extension proposal to help boost tourism: Insiders Visa extension proposal to help boost tourism: Insiders

The Government has agreed to propose to the National Assembly some new policies relating to the immigration, transit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam, including one on a visa extension to 90 days.

E-visa extension to 90 days expected to lure more foreign tourists to Vietnam E-visa extension to 90 days expected to lure more foreign tourists to Vietnam

The number of foreign visitors to Vietnam is predicted to see a 1.5-fold increase following the extension of tourist e-visas from 30 to 90 days from August 15, according to insiders.

By Hoang Oanh

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