As Vietnam’s tourism still shows many shortcomings which discourage the attraction of international tourists, Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung proposed many preferential policies for foreign visitors, mainly those related to the nation’s visa policy.
At a teleconference on attracting international tourists to Vietnam held on Wednesday, Minister Hung said the local tourism sector has some weaknesses, so comprehensive solutions are needed.
Therefore, he proposed issuing e-visas to citizens from all source markets of Vietnam’s tourism, continuing to simplify e-visa issuance procedures, and enhancing technology application.
In addition, the Southeast Asian country should extend the visa waiver period from 15 to 30 days to facilitate foreign visitors and consider piloting the issuance of visas at border gates to international travelers.
The minister also suggested strengthening the role of Vietnamese diplomatic agencies in foreign countries so that they can support in introducing Vietnam’s tourism products and services as well as organizing and adjusting tourism promotion activities.
Furthermore, it is neccesary to open more direct air routes to Vietnam and foster the connectivity of aviation services, roads, and sea routes.
The sector should focus on renewing key tourism products, such as sea and island tourism, cultural tourism (cuisine and heritage), ecotourism (community-based tourism), urban tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions), leisure travel, and medical tourism.
Throwing his support behind these above proposals, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested relevant ministries and agencies to early complete and submit a draft directive on the attraction of international tourists to Vietnam for approval.
In particular, it is necessary to review, amend, and supplement policies and regulations to encourage tourism development and create favorable conditions for domestic and foreign tourists, including those related to visas and taxation.
The government leader also emphasized the need to simplify procedures to facilitate foreign visitors’ immigration, travel and stay, and create conditions for local and foreign airlines to open new air routes connecting Vietnam with key and potential tourism markets.
In addition, he required enhancing the connectivity among regions in the nation in a synchronous and sustainable manner, and the cooperation between tourism and other sectors to diversify tourism products, such as ecotourism, adventure tourism, leisure travel, medical tourism, and culinary tourism.
With the orientation of “providing services that visitors need, not only what we have," the prime minister ordered the development of tourism, including both domestic and international tourism, into a key economic sector and the green and sustainable tourism development.
Vietnam welcomed 2.95 million international tourists in January-November this year, a 21.1-fold increase year on year but plunging 81.9 percent compared to the same period before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the General Statistics Office.
The country will likely welcome some 3.5 million foreign travelers this year, well below the full-year target of five million.
Next year, the Southeast Asian nation hopes to serve 110 million tourist arrivals, including eight million foreign visitors and 102 million domestic travelers.
The country expects this influx of tourism to lead to industry revenues of VND650 trillion (US$27.5 billion).