Thanh Nien News,  8 September 2015. Vietnam’s visa waiver policy fails to give tourism a strong boost: report.

An edited extract of the original article appears below.

It has been two months since Vietnam started waiving visa for tourists from Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain.

But Ung Phuong Dung, director of Indochina Services Travel Group, told Saigon Times Online that around half of her clients from these five European countries still need a visa.

They want to stay in Vietnam for at least three weeks, but the exemption period is only 15 days, she said.

Dung is one of many tour operators who pointed out that the new visa policy, while helpful, has failed to give Vietnam’s tourism industry a really strong boost, the news website reported.

Tran Trong Kien, CEO of travel and hospitality group Thien Minh, was quoted as saying it often takes more than 15 days to explore all major Vietnam’s destinations, meaning that many tourists still have to apply for a visa anyway.

Some tourists who enter Vietnam and then visit neighboring countries also have to apply for a visa if they want to return to Vietnam within 30 days from their exit, he said.

The government wants to simplify procedures to welcome tourists, but the waiver’s duration is “too short,” thus making them feel that “Vietnam does not really open its door to international visitors,” Kien said…

They also said that nobody can be sure about the future of the one-year policy, which means they can not really plan far ahead.

More than 5 million foreigners visited Vietnam in the January-August period, down 7.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).


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