The government has decided to continue visa exemption for citizens from eight countries until the end of 2022.
The 15-day visa exemption programme for citizens from eight countries including Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Belarus will be extended to December 31, 2022, regardless of passport-type, purpose of entry as long as they meet conditions in Vietnam's laws.
The programme was started on January 1, 2015, and was set to run until December 31, 2019.
Russia, South Korea and Japan are big customers of Vietnam with potential growth. South Korea is Vietnam's second-biggest source market after China. In 2018, nearly 3.5 million South Korean tourists arrived in Vietnam, a 44% increase compared to the previous year. 2018's revenue also reached VND92trn.
Japan was in third place with 800,000 tourists in 2018, increased by 3.6% on the previous year. The revenue from this market was VND17.9trn. Also in 2018, over 600,000 Russian tourists arrived in Vietnam with revenue of VND20.6trn.
On November 25, the National Assembly approved of the revised law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam. This allows a 30-day visa exemption to foreigners entering some of Vietnam's 18 coastal economic zones including Phu Quoc and Van Don island districts. The economic zones must meet four requirements including having an international airport, defined geographical boundaries, suitable with socio-economic policies and non-threatening to national security.
A friendly visa policy is among major reasons to help boost the Vietnamese tourism development, said Kenneth Atkinson, vice president of Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).