The Hanoitimes - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has agreed to extension of visa exemption for a three-year period for the citizens of five Western European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
This was announced by Minister, Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung at the regular Government meeting on May 3. Citizens from the five aforementioned countries will continue to enjoy visa exemptions to enter Vietnam up to 2020 after the expiration of the visa-free policy in June this year.
The open-door visa policy aligned with enhanced tourism promotion has contributed to maintaining Vietnam's growth rate of foreign visitors at nearly 30% annually, according to Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung.
Foreign visitors to Vietnam.
In addition, the Government will consider proposals from the Vietnam Tourism Association concerning the extension of the period of stay in Vietnam from 15 to 30 days and the expansion of visa exemption for more countries, among others, he added.
The previous visa waiver, valid from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, did increase arrivals from those five countries by 15% to 681,000 after 11 months in effect, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
The number of foreign visitors arriving in Vietnam in April was estimated at 1.3 million, raising the total figure for the first four months of 2018 to 5.5 million, up 29.5% over the same period last year.
Foreign tourists visiting Vietnam in April rose 25.2%, attracted by a wide range of events such as the Festival of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups in Hanoi, and the Asian Food and Culture Festival in Hanoi and Quang Ninh province.
Of the total visitors in the first four months, 4.1 million came from Asia, with Chinese tourists topping the list at 1.7 million, followed by 1.1 million from South Korea. Visitors from Europe were estimated at more than 843,000, of which Russian tourists accounted for the largest share at an estimated 262,000.
In 2017, Vietnam received a record 12.9 million foreign visitors in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 29.1%, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The foreign tourists to Vietnam in 2017 included 9.7 million people from Asia, representing a year-on-year increase of 34.4%. The country received 1.8 million people from Europe, 817,000 people from the Americas, 420,900 visitors from Australia, and 35,900 people from Africa.