Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Government has agreed to extend the visa exemption policy for citizens from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, said Mai Tiến Dũng, Minister-Chairman of the Government Office.
The policy, which ends on June 30 this year, will be extended until June 30, next year.
Accordingly, citizens from the above-mentioned countries will not have to apply for visa if their stay in Việt Nam does not exceed 15 days.
This is the second time the Government has extended the policy which took effect from July 1, 2015, Dũng said.
The visa exemption will increase the number of foreign tourists to Việt Nam, Dũng said.
According to Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the visa exemption policy has brought about positive effects on the development of the tourism sector in the country.
The European tourist market in the first quarter of 2017 grew rapidly, especially the markets that had visa-free entry since July 2015 and the Russian market.
The total number of tourists from the five visa-free countries to Việt Nam in the first quarter of 2017 reached over 240,000 tourists, up 12 per cent over the same period in 2016.
Specifically, the number of tourists from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Britain increased by 23 per cent, 13 per cent, 13 per cent, 11 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively.
In order to promote tourism development in 2017, the Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to co-ordinate with the Ministry of Finance to supplement the funds for tourist promotion, with a view to reach the target of between 13 million and 15 million international tourists in 2017.
About 5.3 million international tourists have come to Việt Nam in the first five months this year, an increase of 30.8 per cent over last year’s figure.
Earlier in May, the HCM City Tourism Association urged the Government to extend the visa waiver for tourists from the five Western European countries.
Nguyễn Thị Khánh, deputy chairwoman of the association, told a meeting with the city People’s Council on May 23, that the visa-free policy should be for five years, instead of one, to enable travel firms to organise promotion and marketing campaigns in the five markets.
Besides this, the maximum stay per entry for these tourists should be doubled to 30 days, which would help boost their spending in the country, she added. — VNS