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Dec 22, 2022 / 05:11

Tourism minister proposes extending visa-free stay for int'l tourists

Hanoi, as one of the major tourist centers of the country, has implemented many activities to create momentum for the tourism market.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed the Government extend the visa-free stay period for foreign tourists from 15 to 30 days.

The move is part of solutions to address current obstacles and attract international visitors to Vietnam, said Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung at a related online and offline conference chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on December 21.

 An overview of the conference. Photos: VNA

Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister stated that although Vietnam is one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to fully lift border restrictions, which has led to a strong rebound in tourism, the travel industry has not recovered as expected. 

Regarding the prime minister's call for management agencies, localities, and tourism businesses to take initiatives soon to attract more foreign tourists in this year's high season, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said policies related to visa extensions should be implemented.

"The time for foreign tourists to enjoy a visa-free stay in Vietnam is shorter than in other countries in the region, as the visa-free stay in ASEAN countries is between 30 and 90 days," he added.

He asked Vietnam's diplomatic missions abroad to support introducing and organizing promotional and networking activities. 

 Hanoi attracts a large number of tourists in 2022. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times

Hung suggested that the Ministry of Transport have solutions to expand the international air route network to Vietnam, as well as attract international travelers by air and sea.

The Ministry of Finance should design tax and customs policies to help tourism businesses improve their ability to access target markets and develop high-quality and specific tourism products.

In 2022, the country welcomed some 3.5 million international visitors, reaching 70% of the target of five million arrivals, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The country has resumed the visa waiver policy for citizens of 13 countries after two years of border closures due to Covid-19. Meanwhile, Malaysia and Singapore have exempted visas for travelers from 162 countries, the Philippines from 157 countries, and Thailand from 65 countries.

Hanoi’s proposals

 Hanoi's leaders attend the online conference.

Proposing solutions for the development of Vietnam's tourism and the capital city, Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Tran Sy Thanh wanted to address visa issues, including simplifying administrative procedures for issuing Vietnam's electronic visas and extending visa-free stay for travelers from some key source markets to 30 days from 15 currently.

Thanh also proposed extending support policies for tourism businesses, completing the overall plan for Vietnam’s tourism development, and strengthening tourism promotion activities.

As one of the major tourist centers of the country, in 2022, Hanoi has implemented 172 groups of activities, many of which have attracted great attention, creating momentum for the tourism market.

Local tourism businesses have actively introduced many new tourism products to lure a large number of tourists over the past time.

The Hanoi Department of Tourism has recently reported that some 17 million visitors came to the city in the past 11 months, a five-fold increase from the same period last year.

The figure included 1.27 million international tourists, fulfilling the full-year expectation, and nearly 16 million domestic travelers. Tourism activities have brought about a total of VND48.35 trillion (US$1.9 billion) to the city’s income.

 Local visitors are taking photos around Hoan Kiem Lake, the heart of Hanoi. Photo: Khanh Huy/ The Hanoi Times