Vietnam has been closed to international visitors since March 2020 and has imposed several lockdowns in different regions since the start of the pandemic.
The Vietnamese government has decided to fully reopen the tourist market from March 15. However, travel agencies fear that foreign travelers will not visit the country due to complicated procedures for entry visa†
A group of foreign travelers who recently passed through Singapore airport and submitted an application visa to Vietnam faced with a very complicated process. The travel agency had to ask agencies and local authorities about procedures before getting visas, Vietnamnet reported.
###: Vietnam is ready to welcome international visitors back
Nguyen Khoa Luan, CEO of Anh Viet Hop On – Hop Off Vietnam, described the visa application process he went through.
“We paint a beautiful picture of the revival of tourism after Covid. However, it is not easy to attract travelers with today’s requirements,” he says.
Vietnam is grant visa the old way, he said. A traveler in Paris can visit the Vietnamese embassy to apply for a visa. Meanwhile, travelers in other regions of France have to go to Paris to apply for a visa, then stay in Paris, or return home and return a few days later to get the visa. It is a time consuming process.
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Image Travel CEO Nguyen Ngoc Toan said: tourist visa that Vietnam subsidies are single-entry, causing inconvenience to travelers.
For example, a French traveler flying to Vietnam might leave and go to Cambodia. If they want to re-enter Vietnam after visiting the Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap in Cambodia, they will have to pay for a new visa, because under current visa policy, tourist visas are only valid once.
That’s why most travelers choose to go to Bangkok and fly back to France the next day. This means that Vietnam is losing revenue from the traveler’s one night stay and the use of the service for that night.
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Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, deputy CEO of Vietravel, said the full tourism opening is near (March 15), so authorities should immediately restore unilateral and bilateral visa waiver policies as they did before the Covid-19 outbreak. This is an important factor in attracting tourists to Vietnam.
luan said: Vietnam visa Policies should be more open and convenient to compete with rivals and entice travelers.
In Turkey, for example, tourists can use e-visa, show their passport and enter the country. Cambodia has also opened up the market widely. There is no reason for Vietnam to set up many procedures that could hinder foreign travellers, he said.
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Luong Hoai Nam, an aviation and tourism expert, stressed that in order to revive tourism, Vietnam needs to reinstate the visa policy it had applied before the pandemic and expand the list of countries enjoying visa waiver.
Vietnam now waives visas for 24 countries, a very small number compared to other countries that are rivals in tourist destinations.
For example, Thailand waives visas for citizens from 64 countries, Singapore for 120-130 countries and Indonesia and Malaysia for 150.
Vietnam should waive visas for all countries in the EU. “Why does Vietnam waive visas for German and French travelers, but not for Czechs, Hungarian and Polish travelers?” he said. “Australia and New Zealand may also be added to the visa waiver list.”
As for China and the US, two huge markets, Vietnam has to negotiate visas that are valid for 5-10 years. China and the US now grant each other visas for 10 years.
Vietnamese can get a visa that is valid for 10 years when entering Canada, and when they enter South Korea they can get a visa that is valid for 5 years.
“To develop tourism, the visa policy must be open, at least as open as Thailand,” Nam said.
The government office has sent a document to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) requesting that it resume visa waiver policies that apply to travelers from some countries, Vietnamnet’s Tran Chung reported.