Although the country has offered unilateral visa exemption and e-visas, the policy is not competitive enough as the 15-day visa exemption has yet to satisfy the need of visitors from such markets as Europe, North America and Australia, who often stay from three to four weeks in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Culture , Sports and Tourism (MCST).
Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa said the ministry should propose the Government instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expand the list of countries and territories qualified for visa exemption and e-visa, and restore visa granting at border gates.
She also suggested simplifying visa procedures for visitors who get infected with COVID-19 during their stay in Vietnam and undergo treatment in the Southeast Asian nation.
The official proposed extending visa-free stay from the current 15 to 30 days to attract more tourists.
Nguyen Thien Phuc, Director of Product Research & Development at Vidotour Indochina Travel, said apart from the visa policy, a national communication strategy and a contingent of trained personnel are needed for the domestic tourism sector.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has coordinated with associations, businesses and airlines to outline promotion plans to quickly ramp up international tourism, focusing on Southeast Asian, Northeast Asian and European markets.
Specifically, Vietnam will join JATA Tourism Expo, a leading regional travel fair which will take place in Japan from September 22-25, and the World Travel Market in the UK from November 7-9.
There will be also festivals and programmes promoting Vietnamese tourism in major markets like the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan (China), Europe, North America and Australia, along with an array of events at home.
The sector served nearly 72 million domestic tourists and 733,000 foreign visitors so far this year, according to the MCST.
The Ministry of Public Security said it granted e-visas to citizens from 80 countries and territories and offered visas exemption to travelers from 25 others./.
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