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Vietnam 'Likely' to Give Visa Waivers for UK, France, Australia, Others

More details about plans to change the country’s visa policies have emerged with a tourism official announcing that visitors from the UK, France, Germany and Spain will soon enjoy visa-free stays in Vietnam.

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The probable visa waivers come after approval from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and repeated calls from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism that have said such a move is necessary to reverse 12 consecutive months of falling international arrivals, reports Tuoi Tre.

Countries likely to receive visa waivers are those that “are Vietnam’s key tourism markets, or those it has strategic or comprehensive partnerships with,” wrote the paper.

In addition to the first group of countries mentioned above, visitors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada may also be added to the list later on.

“Tourists from these countries will be given a 15-day stay for each entry over five years,”VNAT chief Nguyen Anh Tuan told Van Hoa Online.

The first group is expected to receive waivers this July with the second a year later.

“Vietnam currently applies one-sided free-visa rules for seven countries, including Japan, South Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, and scraps visas for nine Southeast Asian countries including Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines.”

The country has seen great success with visa waivers in the past. After scrapping visas for Japan and South Korea in 2004, visitors from these countries increased by 2.4 times and 3.6 times, respectively.

When visa waivers were offered to Russian tourists in 2009, visitors from that country increased nearly eightfold by 2014.

In addition to the visa waivers, the National Administration of Tourism announced last week that they had created a US$100 million fund to better contend with its regional competition for tourism dollars.

[Photo via Vietnam Xplorer]

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