Vietnam looks to ease visa requirements to woo more tourists

Vietnam currently offers e-visas to 80 nations, the immigration department said. PHOTO: PEXELS

HANOI – Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has ordered officials to relax some visa requirements to help the South-east Asian country attract more foreign tourists.

The difficulty of obtaining tourist visas has been a major reason the nation has struggled to woo international travellers after the pandemic, according to local media.

In 2022, fewer than 3.7 million foreign travellers visited the country known for its street food, a long coastline dotted with beaches and the Unesco World Heritage site of Halong Bay. Hoan Kiem Lake in the capital Hanoi is also popular.

Mr Chinh on Wednesday instructed his Cabinet to amend policies on immigration procedures, such as offering more visa waivers, increasing the length of stays for foreign tourists with reasonable fees as well as expanding the country’s e-visa programme, according to the government’s website.

Vietnam has granted visa waivers to visitors from 13 nations – 11 in Europe and two in Asia – who can stay in the country for up to 15 days.

Visitors from nine Asean nations, including Singapore, can stay in the country visa-free for as long as 30 days. Vietnam currently offers e-visas to 80 nations, the immigration department said.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism says a more relaxed visa policy is key to drawing more international tourists.

At a tourism conference on Wednesday, local tourist firms proposed increasing the length of stay to as many as 45 days, state media reported.

Vietnam’s target is to attract eight million foreign tourists in 2023. In 2019, the country reported a record of more than 18 million international tourists. BLOOMBERG

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