Knots in tourism growth gradually loosened
Vietnam first offered visa waivers to citizens from the five European countries in July 2015 and decided to extend the policy after it expired at the end of June.
According to a study by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on the impact of visa exemptions in ASEAN countries, the number of tourists increased by 3% to 5.1%. At the same time, the number of direct jobs in the tourism industry will increase from 1.6% to 3.1%.
The number of visitors from Western European markets to Vietnam reached nearly one million tourists per year. The Western European market is considered a desirable tourist market with a stable economy and high-spending, long-stay visitors. Over the last three years, the number of tourists from Western European markets grew steadily by more than 10%. The Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) has also conducted separate studies on the impact of visa exemptions for visitors from UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Specifically, Vietnam’s unilateral visa exemption makes a breakthrough, helping increase the number of tourists from these markets by 10.1%.
The visa exemption policy was considered one of the knots hindering the development of tourism. However, the policy has contributed to increase the number of direct and indirect jobs in tourism, increase revenue from tourism. In addition, it will also help to develop the economy because the investors and traders from developed countries will have easier access to the Vietnamese market.
According to Hoang Nhan Chinh, Director of the Travel Advisory Board (TAB) Secretariat, for tourists, the visa fee is not so important, but the maximum advantage of visa processing is important. Meanwhile, for the travel industry, the visa-free policies will create an impetus to develop the tourism industry as an effective tool to attract high-quality tourists from high-spending tourism markets.
Take initiative in developing a business plan
In March, 2018, in a letter from the Tourism Advisory Council and the Private Sector Development Research Board (abbreviated as IV Board) to the Prime Minister on proposing a visa-exemption policy for international visitors to Vietnam, the private sector has committed itself to working with the Government to promote tourism as a key economic sector, contributing to an overall increase in tourism growth of 15%, only countries applying visa-exemption policies at 7% to 10%. At the same time, the private sector will contribute to increasing the export value from US$ 830 to more than US$ 1,000 per visitor.
In June, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) stepped up tourism promotion activities in four European cities, including Zurich (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria), Prague (Czech) and Budapest (Hungary), which are all new cities for Vietnam’s tourism market. Tran Trong Kien, member of the Private Sector Development Research Board (abbreviated as IV Board), Chairman of Thien Minh Group, said that extending the visa exemption for international visitors is a very good policy of the Government, in continuing to improve the business environment of Vietnam’s tourism it helps travel and airline businesses implement a longer term plan.
However, Chairman of Thien Minh Group Kien stressed that in order to secure 20 million international visitors by 2020, it is necessary to complete many other tasks such as promotion activities, environmental cleanup and infrastructure synchronisation. Along with the relaxation of visa policy, it is necessary to simplify the visa policy at the border and create a more favorable process for travelers with a transit visa to experience Vietnam for 72 hours or 48 hours without a visa, and attract them to return for a longer stay.