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Conference highlights need to relax visa policy to attract int’l guests

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – A tourism conference on the visa policy was held by Thanh Nien newspaper on March 10.

Addressing the conference, Nguyen Ngoc Toan, editor-in-chief of Thanh Nien Newspaper, said many countries have favorable visa policies for international guests.

According to VisaGuide.World in late 2022, the recovery rate of Vietnamese tourism was only 18.1%, although Vietnam was one of the first countries to reopen post pandemic, while other neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia were at 26% to 31%.

Speaking at the event, Pham Trung Luong, former vice head of the Tourism Development Institute, said that visa was a key factor and the first issue which needed to be resolved. Currently, tourists from 13 countries exempted from visas are only entitled to a short stay. To remove bottlenecks, the Government should relax the visa policy and open more direct flights, he suggested.

Meanwhile, Luong Hoai Nam, member of the Tourism Consultancy Council, proposed extending the temporary residence periods for international guests from 15 days to 30 days or 45 days and permitting them to be entitled to multiple entry visas.

He added that visa exemption could be applied to guests from the EU, Australia and New Zealand in five years so that enterprises could only focus on their tourist attraction policies.

Statistics of the World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council showed that a favorable visa policy could increase the number of international guests from 5% to 25% annually.

“We need to apply technology to improve the visa issuance procedure, including simplifying the procedure and diversifying ways of issuing visas. Besides a flexible visa policy, we should focus on the quality of tourism products to improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s tourism,” said Tran Phu Cuong, head of the Department of International Cooperation under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

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