The French Embassy in Vietnam on Wednesday inked an agreement with local travel firms on more convenient visa application procedures in an attempt to tap the burgeoning number of Vietnamese taking vacations in the European country.
The agreement signing ceremony, held in Hanoi, was attended by Jean-Noel Poirier, French Ambassador to Vietnam; Matthias Fekl, French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade; Nguyen Ngoc Son, Vietnamese Ambassador to France; and representatives of six Vietnamese travel companies, the Communist Party of Vietnam’s portal reported.
This is the first time that France has signed such a deal with Vietnamese tour firms regarding its visa granting policy, local newspaper Saigon Giai Phong Online said.
The agreement is meant to simplify visa application procedures for the six companies’ clients who visit France as tourists and cope with the swelling number of such applications.
The deal allows groups of applicants to make priority appointments with the French Embassy, and simplified paperwork for those who have made it to Europe or several other countries before.
The move is intended to deal with a sharp rise in the number of Vietnamese tourists to France in the past two years, and is expected to welcome even more Vietnamese holidaymakers to the country.
A total of 24,269 visas to France were granted to Vietnamese applicants last year, up by 28.7 percent compared to 2013.
Among them, nearly 11,000 were tourist visas, a 62 percent year-on-year rise.
The six Vietnamese travel agencies who signed the agreement are Hanoi Red Tours, Naci Travel, Hanoi Iso Tours, Hanoi Tourist, South Pacific Travel, and Vietfoot Travel.
The visa granting procedures remain the same for applicants for purposes other than travel, according to the French Embassy.