Vietnam should extend visa exemption policies for foreign tourists to encourage more visitors to return.
|Viet Nam needs to extend further visa exemption policy for foreign tourists for attracting more foreign visitors coming back. — Photo baokhanhhoa.vn|
Tu Quy Thanh, General Director of the Federal Travel Company, said right now foreign tourists who receive visa exemptions are allowed to stay here for only 15 days, less than the average time they often want to stay.
He says the visa exemption policy would need to be applied for up to 30 days like other countries because many tourists travel from the west, and 15 days is not long enough to stay here.
According to tourism companies the visa policy should be reformed to create better conditions for tourists.
Pham Ha, founder and chief executive officer of the Luxury Travel Company, said tourists staying longer would spend more and boost the economy.
He believed the State should increase the amount of time they are allowed to visit without a visa, making Viet Nam more competitive with neighbouring countries.
At the midterm Vietnam Business Forum 2019 in June, the tourism working group proposed exemption policies, adding that Viet Nam must compete with many countries in attracting foreign visitors, especially with Southeast Asian nations.
According to travel companies, many potential markets need to be exempt from visas to stimulate tourism, including large markets who spend big and stay longer, such as Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, India, and the EU.
They also are member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
But many who work in the sector think as well as improving visa conditions, products need investment to encourage people to stay longer and come back.
Nguyen Quoc Ky, General Director of the Vietravel Tourism Company, said international visitors had a longer average stay than to some ASEAN countries but spend less.
Foreign visitors stay in Viet Nam in average 9.5 days, spending US$96 per person, while they stay on average only 3.4 days in Singapore, spending $325 and 9.5 days in Thailand, spending $163. That is due to Viet Nam not having many tourism products and programmes to stimulate spending.
The number of international visitors to Viet Nam in the first half of this year hit 8.5 million, 7.5 per cent more than in the first half of last year.
Vu Quoc Tri, Chief of Office at the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism said that 2019 is the fourth consecutive year, Viet Nam tourism gained high growth rate in most markets.
Asian visitors accounted for 77 per cent of the total foreign visitors to Viet Nam, up 8.2 per cent year on year. Visitors from Europe were 14.1 per cent, up 5.5 per cent while visitors from America accounted for 6.1 per cent, up 5.2 per cent.
In the first six months of this year, tourists from Thailand had the highest growth rate at 45.5 per cent. This is also the biggest growth of the Thai tourists to Viet Nam ever. Meanwhile, visitors from Indonesia increased by 22 per cent and the Philippines, up by 20.4 per cent.
According to the VNAT, in the last six months of this year, Viet Nam’s tourism sector continues to promote growth of both international and domestic tourists.
This year, the nation expects to welcome 17.5-18 million international visitors and 85 million domestic tourists and to gain a total revenue from tourists of about VND700 trillion.
In the second half of this year, the tourism sector continues to promote tourism with advertisement programmes in many countries such as South Korea, ASEAN countries, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, US, Western Europe and Australia.
At present, Viet Nam increases the number of countries exempt from visas to 24 and has started using electronic visas for foreigners entering Viet Nam. — VNS
Experts have suggested expanding the visa exemption policy to more countries to attract visitors to Vietnam.
While experts and travel firms say visa policy plays an important role in attracting tourists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disagrees that that visa ranking affects tourism competitiveness.