More actions needed besides new visa policy to attract int’l travelers: InsidersThursday, August 17,2023
AsemconnectVietnam - The new visa policy, taking effect from August 15, is creating a boost to the attraction of international tourists, but it is just the initial step and more long-term measures are required to make a breakthrough in this regard, according to insiders.
The National Assembly’s adoption of the law amending and supplementing some articles of the Law on Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens and the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through and Residence in Vietnam is good news for tourism businesses.
Under this law, the e-visa validity period is extended to 90 days from 30 days. Within 90 days after the e-visa is granted, foreigners can enter and exit Vietnam for unlimited times and without having to apply for new visas. The law also permits citizens of the countries entitled to Vietnam’s unilateral visa exemption to be granted a temporary residence period of 45 days, instead of 15 days like in the past, and have visa granting and temporary residence extension considered in line with regulations.
Such regulations are highly favourable for foreign tourists who can visit Vietnam, travel in some regional countries, and then return to Vietnam. They can also directly apply for visas without help from intermediaries, said Phung Quang Thang, Director of the Vietnam Sustainable Tourism Investment and Development JSC and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents.
A recent report by online travel platform Agoda showed that Vietnam’s reformed e-visa policy has drawn much attention from international travellers. The number of searches for policy information rose 33% within two weeks since the adoption.
Data analysis focused on long-haul travellers from North America, the EU, Australia, and New Zealand. They often have to board long and costly round-trip flights, so they tend to plan longer holidays compared to tourists from nearby countries.
Given this, a more flexible and opener visa policy, boosted promotion activities, and increased flights will help Vietnam reach the foreign visitor target, according to Agoda.
Vu Van Tuyen, CEO of Travelogy Vietnam, said as soon as the parliament approved the new visa policy, his company readied over 260 long tours to serve Europeans and international visitors in general.
The firm expects these tours will attract a number of travellers in late 2023 and early 2024, he went on.
However, to help the policy prove effective and the sector develop sustainably, it is necessary to have more concerted measures, insiders opined.
The growth in the annual number of international tourist arrivals in Vietnam has surpassed that in Indonesia to reach the fourth place in Southeast Asia. However, in terms of revenue per traveller, Vietnam has dropped to the sixth position from the fifth. International visitors’ spending in Vietnam is equivalent to just 40% compared to the figure in Thailand, statistics show.
Nguyen Manh Than, Chairman of the Hanoi Tourism Association, pointed out the need to upgrade existing products and create new ones to grab visitors’ interest.
He added that it is also important to improve manpower quality since regardless of how goods products are, poor manpower will make the sector fail to attract tourists and meet their demand.
Pham Xuan Quy, CEO of the Inbound Vietnam International Travel Co. Ltd, underlined the necessity to improve services, noting that the units directly serving tourists, including hotels, restaurants, and shopping places, should professionalise and improve the quality of their services to extend visitors' stay and encourage them to spend more.
Other insiders perceived that overarching, long-term, and breakthrough policies such as expanding the coverage of the unilateral visa exemption, implementing more national-level promotion events, and creating unique tourism products are needed to attract international travellers./.
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