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Vietnam Should Extend Visa Exemptions to More Countries: Tourism Association

The Vietnam Tourism Association (VTA) has proposed expanding and extending the country's visa exemption program in order to attract more tourists.

Dan Tri reports that the agency has recommended extending visa exemptions for visitors from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belarus and the UK for five years, in addition to offering the program to guests from India, Australia, Canada, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and other Eastern European nations.

Vu The Binh, VTA's vice chairman, told the news source that Vietnam should be more competitive when it comes to offering exemptions.

"Expanding visa exemptions is a common trend," he said. "Thailand exempts visa[s] for tourists from 61 countries, Malaysia exempts visa[s] for 155 countries and in Singapore, it's 158. Meanwhile, we have only exempted visa[s] for 22 countries."

According to the news source, tourism companies have been hesitant to spend money on promoting visa exemptions since the program has only been approved for a year.

Tran Thi Viet Huong, an official at Vietravel, explained that many European tourists make travel plans six month to a year in advance, and the exemptions are set to end in June. This affects the decision-making process of potential visitors.

Meanwhile Le Tuan Anh, deputy director of the International Cooperation Department of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), suggested extending the program for five years and lengthening the allowed trip duration from 15 days to 30. 

Visitor numbers from Europe have increased substantially under the visa exemption policy. Dan Tri shares that 240,000 tourists from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK visited Vietnam in the first quarter of 2017, a 12% increase compared to the same period last year. 

[Photo via Euro Congress]

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