Many Vietnamese tourists have booked tours to Japan and South Korea in the autumn-winter travel season as the two countries have eased immigration requirements since this month.
On September 30, South Korea announced the removal of the on-arrival COVID-19 test requirement for international tourists.
Travelers are required to register Q-codes on South Korea’s Q-code website prior to their entry into the East Asian country.
Moreover, South Korea does not ask travelers to report the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses they have got.
Meanwhile, Japan will relax entry regulations and lift its cap on daily arrivals from October 11 to attract more tourists in autumn.
In addition, Japan will reinstate its visa waiver policy as in the pre-pandemic period.
The country will also accept travelers who have any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
At present, Japan allows anyone who received all COVID-19 vaccines on the WHO’s emergency use list, except for those made in China, to enter the country.
According to some travel firms, South Korea reopened its door to foreign visitors from April, while Japan did the job at the beginning of autumn, so many Vietnamese tourists have booked tours to these two destinations.
With relaxed immigration regulations, traveling to these two countries will be easier.
Japan and South Korea, with fine weather and stunning landscapes in autumn, also pin high hopes on the high number of Vietnamese guests.
At present, Vietnamese customers of tours to these two East Asian countries are mainly families or groups of four to six friends.
A survey on some travel companies shows that the number of applications for visas to Japan and South Korea is high but the visa issuance processes of these two countries remain complicated, with many procedures and a 20-25 percent higher fee.
As a result, the number of tours to Japan and South Korea remains modest.
Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, director of marketing at local travel firm Vietravel told Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper that the firm had received more than 1,500 bookings for tours to Japan and South Korea.
The travelers’ favorite products are tours in autumn costing each person VND28-37 million (US$1,173-1,550), up 10-20 percent over the pre-pandemic period, news site VnExpress reported.
A representative of Saigontourist Travel Service Company said the company had relaunched most of its outbound tours, except for those to mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Saigontourist expected to serve 20,000 customers of outbound tours until the end of the year.
Tours to Japan in autumn are put up for sale, the representative added.
Meanwhile, Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of communications at Fiditour – Vietluxtour, said “in the high-end segment with tours worth VND20-40 million [$838-1,676] each person, many tourists prefer tours to South Korea and Japan at the end of the year and during the Tet [Lunar New Year] holiday.
“Fiditour – Vietluxtour has received many bookings of tourists for these tours,” Thu said, as cited by Nguoi Lao Dong.
At present, South Korea has limited the number of travel companies which are designated to complete visa procedures on behalf of their customers, so domestic tourists should take notice of these travel companies.
According to the South Korea Tourism Organization in Vietnam, in the January-August period of this year, South Korea welcomed some 80,000 Vietnamese visitors.
It set a target of 150,000 Vietnamese tourists this year. The figure was 550,000 in 2019, news site The Saigon Times reported.
Meanwhile, 33,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Japan in August, sending the total number of Vietnamese people coming to the country in the eight-month period to 160,600.
Vietnam has taken the lead in the number of tourists entering Japan over the past few months.