HANOI, April 1 (dpa): In an effort to lure more foreign tourists, the Vietnamese government is aiming to expand the duration of e-visas granted to foreigners entering Vietnam from 30 days to a maximum of three months to boost tourism recovery.
The new e-visa, announced in late March, will be valid for single-entry or multiple entries, the government says, according to the online newspaper Vnexpress.
Vietnam currently offers a one-month, single-entry e-visa to visitors from 280 countries, but this has been limiting to many travellers seeking longer stays abroad while using the post-pandemic freedom to work and travel.
"This is a breakthrough policy, showing a new position of the Vietnamese government, which really considers the visa policy as a breakthrough for the tourism industry," Dr Luong Hoai Nam, former CEO of Jetstar Pacific Airline, member of the National Tourism Advisory Council told dpa. "Without this visa policy, international visitors find difficulty coming to Vietnam."
"However, this is only a necessary condition, not a sufficient one to attract more tourists. In order to attract more tourists, Vietnam's tourism industry needs to solve many problems, including improving service quality," he added.
Vietnam exempts visa for citizens from 25 countries, including 9 ASEAN countries, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK and Northern Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Belarus, Japan and Korea.
If the proposal is approved, citizens from those countries can stay for 30 days instead of the 15 days under the current rules.
The proposal, which is almost certain to pass in May after being submitted to Vietnam's National Assembly, will extend visa exemption to more countries, including other European nations.
Vietnam fully reopened its borders in March last year, but the number of foreign tourists has remained low. Many local experts and tourist companies blamed the current visa policy failing to boost tourism and is less competitive with those of Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) countries.
Vietnam welcomed 3.6 million foreign tourists last year, down by 80% compared with the figure before Covid 19 appeared, and has targeted to receive 8 million foreign visitors this year. - dpa