Tourism players ask Vietnam government to resume visa free entry
Vietnam’s tourism ministry has asked the government to consider resuming visa free entry for up to 15 days for those arriving from certain countries.
The Vn Express reports that the proposal is part of a preliminary report on bringing foreign tourists back to Vietnam under a vaccine passport trial programme that had been submitted to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh for consideration.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, visitors from Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have been allowed to stay in Vietnam for a maximum of 15 days without a visa.
The policy is said to have been a key factor that drove the Vietnamese tourism industry.
However, when Vietnam closed its borders to foreign tourists in March last year, it also suspended its visa waiver policy as the nation dealt with the Covid pandemic.
The ministry has also proposed the government allow travel agencies to bring in foreign tourists either by regular commercial flights, sea or land.
Currently, they are only allowed to bring back foreign tourists on chartered flights.
The Express report said the ministry also wanted the government to allow Binh Dinh province, home to the famous resort town of Quy Nhon, and Vietnam’s southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City to receive foreign tourists in the second phase of the vaccine passport programme.
In addition, the ministry has suggested the government allow Vietnamese living abroad and overseas Vietnamese with United States green and permanent residence cards to join the vaccine passport trial programme for foreign tourists.
It said there was high demand among overseas Vietnamese to return to their homeland for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations in early February.
The provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ninh, Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa and Da Nang have earlier got the greenlight to allow in foreign visitors on special tour packages.
Since the country reopened to international tourism last month, over 1,100 visitors have arrived on chartered flights, and the tourism industry expects to receive 15,000 visitors by the end of this month.
The government last week approved the resumption of commercial flights between Vietnam and nine destinations with high vaccination rates and good pandemic control measures in place during the first phase that will last for 15 days from Jan 1.
The scheduled regular flights are to Bangkok, Beijing or Guangzhou, Phnom Penh, San Francisco or Los Angeles, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Vientiane in Laos.
In the second phase from Jan 16, flights would be added on routes connecting Vietnam and Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Paris and Sydney.
New Straits Times – December 19, 2021