HÀ NỘI - Việt Nam should extend visa exemption policies for foreign tourists to encourage more visitors to return.
Từ Quý Thành, General Director of the Federal Travel Company, said right now foreign tourists who receive visa exemptions are allowed to stay here for only 15 days, less than the average time they often want to stay.
He says the visa exemption policy would need to be applied for up to 30 days like other countries because many tourists travel from the west, and 15 days is not long enough to stay here.
According to tourism companies the visa policy should be reformed to create better conditions for tourists.
Phạm Hà, founder and chief executive officer of the Luxury Travel Company, said tourists staying longer would spend more and boost the economy.
He believed the State should increase the amount of time they are allowed to visit without a visa, making Việt Nam more competitive with neighbouring countries.
At the midterm Vietnam Business Forum 2019 in June, the tourism working group proposed exemption policies, adding that Việt Nam must compete with many countries in attracting foreign visitors, especially with Southeast Asian nations.
According to travel companies, many potential markets need to be exempt from visas to stimulate tourism, including large markets who spend big and stay longer, such as Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, India, and the EU.
They also are member countries of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
But many who work in the sector think as well as improving visa conditions, products need investment to encourage people to stay longer and come back.
Nguyễn Quốc Kỳ, General Director of the Vietravel Tourism Company, said international visitors had a longer average stay than to some ASEAN countries but spend less.
Foreign visitors stay in Việt Nam in average 9.5 days, spending US$96 per person, while they stay on average only 3.4 days in Singapore, spending $325 and 9.5 days in Thailand, spending $163. That is due to Việt Nam not having many tourism products and programmes to stimulate spending.
The number of international visitors to Việt Nam in the first half of this year hit 8.5 million, 7.5 per cent more than in the first half of last year.
Vũ Quốc Trí, Chief of Office at the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism said that 2019 is the fourth consecutive year, Việt Nam tourism gained high growth rate in most markets.
Asian visitors accounted for 77 per cent of the total foreign visitors to Việt Nam, up 8.2 per cent year on year. Visitors from Europe were 14.1 per cent, up 5.5 per cent while visitors from America accounted for 6.1 per cent, up 5.2 per cent.
In the first six months of this year, tourists from Thailand had the highest growth rate at 45.5 per cent. This is also the biggest growth of the Thai tourists to Việt Nam ever. Meanwhile, visitors from Indonesia increased by 22 per cent and the Philippines, up by 20.4 per cent.
According to the VNAT, in the last six months of this year, Việt Nam’s tourism sector continues to promote growth of both international and domestic tourists.
This year, the nation expects to welcome 17.5-18 million international visitors and 85 million domestic tourists and to gain a total revenue from tourists of about VNĐ700 trillion.
In the second half of this year, the tourism sector continues to promote tourism with advertisement programmes in many countries such as South Korea, ASEAN countries, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Russia, US, Western Europe and Australia.
At present, Việt Nam increases the number of countries exempt from visas to 24 and has started using electronic visas for foreigners entering Việt Nam. - VNS