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Will waiving visas help increase revenue in the tourism sector?

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The Tourism Advisory Board says that Vietnam has less open visa policies in comparison with other regional countries.

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The number of foreign tourists in H1 crossed 6,200,000


The advisory board, together with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Vietnam Tourism Association, has asked the government to loosen the entry policy and extend the visa waiver policy for citizens from many markets (at present, the policy is applied to 23 countries and territories).

VNAT has also proposed applying the long-term visa waiver policy to European markets, such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, instead of the yearly set policy. 

However, opinions vary about the visa waiver extension. Vietnam now collects $25 from foreigners for a one-time or single entry visa. 

If Vietnam applies the visa waiver policy to more than 100 countries like Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, it would lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year. 

Will the income from additional tourists, who come to Vietnam thanks to the visa waiver policy, be high enough to cover the loss of revenue?

VNAT reported that Vietnam received 10 million foreign travelers in 2016, and the figure may reach 13 million this year. Of this, 50 percent enjoyed the visa waiver policy. 

Most recently, the Tourism Advisory Board cited a report from the the World Tourism Association on the impact of the visa waiver policy on ASEAN countries as showing that this would help increase the number of tourists by 3-5.1 percent and jobs in the tourism sector by 1.6-3.1 percent.

However, an analyst commented that in order to convince the government to apply the visa waiver policy on a large scale, VNAT needs to show the big benefits the policy can bring.

Travel firms said that a visa waiver is one of the important policies to attract tourists. They cited the strong rise in tourists from Japan, South Korea and five West European markets.

Other proposals include simplifying administrative procedures by granting e-visas, or granting visas at border gates. 

Bui Viet Thuy Tien from Asian Trails commented that the number of tourists who make decisions on travel at the last minute is on the rise. If the process is time-consuming, the country could lose tourists.

The number of foreign tourists visiting the country in the first six months crossed 6,200,000, a 30.2 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to VNAT.


Source: VietNamNet

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