Recognising the recent efforts undertaken by the Vietnamese Government to streamline its visa system, EuroCham Vietnam appreciates the extension of e-visa validity to a 90-day period which enables multiple entries and exits starting from August 15. It also commends the Vietnamese authorities for extending the temporary residence period for citizens from countries exempted from visas to 45 days.

However, EuroCham Vietnam asserts that further measures are necessary in order to fully capitalise on the vast potential of the joint economic relationship that exists, as well as fostering robust economic growth. At present, the visitor visa exemption list includes only seven EU member countries, namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.

With the aim of promoting enhanced trade and investment opportunities, EuroCham Vietnam has underlined the vital importance of expanding the visitor visa exemption list to encompass all 27 EU member countries.

"This expansion will bring in a large number of travelers from the EU market, which has a population of over 500 million. By removing barriers for high-income international travelers to visit Vietnam, we will undoubtedly unlock amazing opportunities for the country's economy after a difficult few years," said Gabor Fluit, chairman of EuroCham Vietnam. 

"It's not only about the sheer number of visitors, but also the extended duration of their stay and their substantial purchasing power where European travelers truly stand out. European travelers tend to stay much longer, often for two weeks or more. This extended period allows them more of an opportunity to contribute to the economy, and perhaps even explore business prospects along the way. It's all about creating room for travelers to create more value during their visit,” he added.

This initiative has gained substantial support from Team Europe, with the appeal being co-signed by 18 ambassadors of EU members to Vietnam, as well as the chairs of various national European business associations, including the Belgian – Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Central and Eastern European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal-Vietnam, the Dutch Business Association Vietnam, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam, the German Business Association, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

The appeal, addressed to the Vietnamese Prime Minister, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, and Ministry of Public Security, highlights the considerable potential that exists regarding the positive impact on the Vietnamese economy resulting from an expanded visitor visa exemption list. It also anticipates a significant increase in European travelers and a surge in business activities as a direct result of the move. EuroCham Vietnam envisions that this will play a pivotal role in stimulating the economy, further expanding trade opportunities, and increasing foreign direct investment inflows.

Moreover, the latest Google Destination Insight report further validates Vietnam’s potential as a sought-after travel destination. Ranking among the top seven most searched travel destinations, Vietnam stands out as a preferred choice for global travelers. Indeed, it was the only country from Southeast Asia to secure a position in the top 20. This surge in interest underscores the growing appeal and popularity of the country as an international tourist destination.

Vietnam’s allure as a popular foreign direct investment destination also remains evident. The latest Business Confidence Index (BCI) published by EuroCham and conducted by Decision Lab sheds light on the country's enduring appeal, despite prevailing challenges. Remarkably, nearly half of respondents (48%) expressed optimism about an impending surge in their company's FDI in the Vietnamese market during the upcoming quarter. Along with this, Vietnam proudly retains its position among the top five investment destinations for more than one-third of businesses, further underscoring its steadfast attractiveness and reputation as a compelling investment opportunity. The ongoing tariff reductions facilitated by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), combined with efforts to address procedural impediments highlighted by BCI respondents, are set to further enhance Vietnamese investment prospects moving forward.

As EuroCham Vietnam's proposal seeks to capitalise on these favourable circumstances, Chairman Gabor Fluit emphasised that visa exemption improvements, along with the Michelin list introduction and the recognition of the Vietnam North-South railway as the most incredible train journey by Lonely Planet, can truly be the answer to increasing the tourism contribution to the country’s GDP.

“The combination of these initiatives, coupled with the growing global recognition and interest in Vietnam, holds immense potential for driving economic growth and positioning Vietnam as a leading destination in the global tourism landscape,” he noted.

Aligned with the overarching objective of bolstering the Vietnamese economy and cultivating a business environment that is conducive to growth, EuroCham Vietnam also remains dedicated to addressing work permit challenges and advocating for streamlined processes, recognising the interconnectedness of these issues in promoting a favourable business environment in the country.

Source: VOV