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PM Pushes Agencies To Move Ahead With Visa Waivers For More Nationalities

 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is pressing relevant ministries to move ahead with visa waivers for more nationalities in order to boost tourism, reports Thanh Nien.

The push comes on the heels of a similar proposal in August by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to provide waivers for citizens of France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada.

A survey conducted by the agency found that Western European visitors often spend more money and stay longer compared to others, while Australian and Kiwi visitors often visit during traditional low seasons.

Vietnam currently allows visa exemptions for 17 countries:

  • Citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Kyrgyzstan get a visa-free stay of up to 30 days.
  • Citizens of the Philippines get 21 days.
  • Citizens of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Japan, and South Korea get 15 days.
  • Citizens of Brunei and Myanmar for 14 days.

To compare, Thailand offers visa waivers for 50 countries and Malaysia a whopping 155.

Since international tourists often spend between US$1,200-1,500 per trip, according to VNAT, Vietnamese authorities are hoping to replicate the success Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia found after issuing visa waivers.

In addition to visa waivers Vietnamese authorities have taken other steps to make things a bit easier for tourists. In March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an online visa application website lowering processing time to two days.

Now if only they would go ahead with the ASEAN joint visa.

[Photo Mark Bellingham on Flickr]



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