Richard Kenneth Wilson of the UK is one of 40 foreigners receiving an electronic visa under a two-year pilot programme launched on February 1 for citizens of 40 countries. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HÀ NỘI — Officials of HCM City’s Culture, Sport and Tourism Department on Saturday welcomed the first foreigner entering Việt Nam on an e-visa, Richard Kenneth Wilson of the UK, at the Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport. Wilson was one of 40 foreigners receiving an electronic visa under a two-year pilot programme launched on February 1 for citizens of 40 countries.
The countries include Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, China (not applicable to Chinese e-passport holders), Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Timor Leste, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Applications for the 30-day visas are submitted through http://xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn or http://immigration.gov.vn, and visas or rejections are supplied within three working days.
Bùi Tá Hoàng Vũ, director of the tourism department, said e-visas are expected to attract more foreign tourists to the city.
Trần Văn Long, director of Việt Media Travel, said the new system "catches up with the global trend in developing tourism.” Long suggested the Government add more countries to the list of eligible nationalities once the pilot programmed ends.
Nguyễn Đức Trí, head of the Tourism Institute under Việt Nam National University - HCM City, said the e-visas also enable constant updates of foreign tourists visiting the country, helping service providers identify trends and tastes.
In response to questions about the speed of the two new websites, Nguyễn Quý Phương, head of the Travel Department under the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, told Thời báo kinh tế Sài Gòn (The Sài Gòn Times) that they occasionally were slower than expected in their first days of operation but the immigration agency was working hard to fix the problem.
Việt Nam welcomed over one million foreign tourists in January, 23.6 per cent higher than the same period last year. — VNS