VNAT proposes visa exemptions
VietNamNet Bridge – The Viet Nam National Administration for Tourism (VNAT) has asked the Government to approve visa exemptions for visitors from the EU, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and North America.
Customs officials check foreign tourists arriving at HCM City's Tan Son Nhat Airport. Visa exemptions for visitors from a number of countries have been proposed by the Viet Nam National Administration for Tourism to boost the number of international visitors.
During a meeting of the Tourism Advisory Board in Ha Noi on Thursday, VNAT also asked for visa extensions of 15 to 30 days for visitors from Russia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Switzerland.
Experts said that visa procedures had become complicated and time-consuming.
Visas on-arrival have been granted to visitors from certain markets, but tourists from other countries must complete formalities two days before their arrival.
Tran Hung Viet, general director of Saigontourist, said a long-term strategy for human resource training and development was needed.
In addition, a detailed survey on human resources should be carried out to determine needs, particularly for tourism destinations such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang and Con Dao.
In his presentation themed "Action Plan of Vietnam Tourism in response to the current situation", Nguyen Van Tuan, VNAT Chairman, said the plan must maintain growth not only in 2015 and 2016 but in the following years as well.
The meeting, held with technical support from the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (known as the ESRT Programme, funded by the EU), was attended by 40 participants including tourist advisory board members, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and VNAT as well as experts from the tourism industry.
According to VNAT, shortcomings in accommodations, food & beverage, stopovers, tourism shops and tourism destinations need to be improved.
Established in 2012 and supported by the ESRT Programme, the tourism advisory board aims to increase competitiveness through sustainable tourism by developing and facilitating public-private partnership and public-private dialogues.
The board consists of more than 20 influential experts in the tourism industry, including CEOs of hotels, travel agencies, transportation businesses, chairmen of tourism associations, leaders of training institutions, representatives of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and EuroCham, and high ranking officials from the public sector.
According to figures from the General Statistics Office, the number of foreign visitors to Viet Nam fell sharply in June and the number of Chinese and international travellers entering the country via border gates with China dropped by half compared with the previous month.
However, the number of foreign visitors to Viet Nam in the first half of the year was 4.3 million, an increase of 21.1 per cent compared with 2013.