|A foreign tourist shows her electronic visa (e-visa) to a customs official at Nội Bài International Airport. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The electronic visa (e-visa) pilot scheme has had a positive impacts on Việt Nam’s tourism industry since it was implemented at the beginning of the year.
Information from the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism showed that by May 30 – four months after the scheme started – some 22,000 tourists from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, Japan, Switzerland and China who do not use biometric passports have requested e-visas on the country’s immigration portal at https://www.immigration.gov.vn.
Some 21,000 tourists received e-visas, 12,000 of which entered the country. Security procedures were conducted properly at airports and border gates and ensured the safety of passengers.
Vũ Thế Bình, standing vice chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, said that the issuance of e-visas has made it easier for citizens of 40 foreign countries to visit Việt Nam.
The visa-exemption policy for citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy that has been in force since July 2015 has also boosted the number of European tourists to the country and did not decrease tourism revenue, he said.
The exemption policy attracted 720,000 tourists from these countries in the first 12 months – an increase of 96,000 tourists compared to the period in 2014 – yielding total revenues of US$126 million, while the deficit in visa fees caused by the exemption was $21.6 million, Bình said.
Similarly, 58,000 more European tourists visited the country last year and yielded $76 million in revenues, while the deficit in visa fees was $2.3 million, he added.
The increased number of tourists and revenues created development opportunities for several types of tourism service, he said.
Simplifying immigration procedures is a common trend around the world. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17 from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the percentage of tourists requesting visas to enter a country decreased from 77 per cent in 2008 to 58 per cent in 2016.
Some 85 per cent of the world’s nations have applied solutions to simplify immigration procedures over the last two years.
In Southeast Asia, apart from Việt Nam which is waiving visas for citizens from 22 countries, Malaysia is waiving visas for 155 countries and territories, Singapore 158, Indonesia 169, and Brunei 58.
These countries are also applying visa-on-arrival and e-visa policies. — VNS