Last year, Vietnam welcomed over 3.66 million foreign visitors, or over 73% of the target. This year’s figure is set at 8 million, which is an uneasy task.
The number of foreign arrivals reached 3.7 million in the first four months of this year, hence, the tourism sector must race to meet the goal.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, together with several foreign diplomatic missions in Vietnam, the European Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Vietnam Business Forum, the Tourism Advisory Board and the Private Economic Development Research Board (Board IV) also made proposals for a more favourable visa policy to improve the competitiveness of Vietnam’s tourism industry.
Suggested changes in the visa policy are related to the amendment and supplementation of several articles of the Law on Entry and Exit of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam.
If approved, the new entry and visa policies will extend the temporary stay of foreigners from 15 days to 45 days and the validity of e-visas from 30 days to a maximum of 90 days, for single or multiple entries.
The sector will have about three months to popularise changes in visa policy to the European and American markets, thus attracting visitors in the upcoming tourism season starting from October.
Pham Ha, Chairman of LUX Group, suggested that in addition to the proposed changes in visa policy, Vietnam should consider offering a golden visa or special visa with a validity of 1 year or 5 years to attract long-stay visitors, especially retirees.