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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Vietnam Likely to Grant E-Visas to All Countries

This Week

This idea was suggested by Vietnam’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Mr. Nguyen Van Hung to provide a boost to the country’s tourism numbers.

A meeting chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh was held this Wednesday to discuss the country’s poor tourism recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Vietnam was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to open its borders in March 2022, it is expected to receive only 3.5 million international tourists this year, which is substantially lower than its target of five million. In 2019, this figure was at an all-time high of 18 million.

To encourage more foreign travelers to visit Vietnam, Mr. Hung asked the government to extend the duration of visa-free stays for foreign tourists to 30 days and to expand its list of 80 countries whose citizens receive visa-on-arrival at immigration.

Compared to its neighbors, Vietnam allows travelers from just 24 countries to enter without visas. This number stands at 162 for Malaysia, 157 for the Philippines, and 65 for Thailand, whose tourism recovery is also on track.

With tourism accounting for 10 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, Nikkei Asia noted, “Vietnam’s visa policy is one reason for the slow recovery. It allows visa-free entry for travelers from about 24 countries. Visitors from European countries, as well as Japan and South Korea, can stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 15 days.

“But Thailand accepts visitors from more than 50 countries and lets them stay for up to 45 days. As European and American tourists tend to take longer trips, Vietnam appears to be losing out in the competition to make up for the loss of Chinese tourists.”

Hung also said that the current visa-free stay of two weeks, “is too short compared to other countries in the region as European tourists tend to stay for 3-4 weeks.”

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