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Urgent actions needed to make Vietnam’s airports friendlier: EuroCham Vietnam

Urgent actions needed to make Vietnam’s airports friendlier: EuroCham Vietnam

Thursday, March 09, 2023, 14:08 GMT+7
Urgent actions needed to make Vietnam’s airports friendlier: EuroCham Vietnam
Foreign tourists enter Vietnam through Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Airport authorities in Vietnam, particularly those tasked with managing Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, should reorganize in order to ensure foreign travelers are met with friendly and convenient services, according to Mark Koerner, chairman of EuroCham Vietnam’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector Committee.

According to Koerner, the committee has received complaints from businesses regarding extremely long wait time at check-in counters in Vietnam.   

“Imagine a passenger with a baby or a pregnant woman queuing up for hours to enter Vietnam," said Koerner.

"We have check-in counters for the disabled but that is not enough.

“It is a must to regulate the flow of passengers in a more scientific and humanitarian manner.”

Koerner also passed along complaints that there are often several check-in desks closed despite throngs of passengers queuing in line.

While some foreign airlines, such as Qatar Airways and Emirates, have agreed to pay more in order to accommodate the large number of passengers they carry, those who fly with other airlines said the lack of service makes them feel unwelcome in Vietnam.

Martin Koerner, chairman of the EuroCham Vietnam’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector Committee

Martin Koerner, chairman of EuroCham Vietnam’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector Committee

Unfriendly visa policies

Koerner also used the meeting as a platform to discuss what he considers Vietnam’s unfriendly visa policies.

These policies have slowed the pace of tourism recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when compared with countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, which have relatively relaxed policies, he said.

Though many believe that Vietnam’s tourism industry has massive economic potential, without changes to visa policies such success will never be realized.

In order to bring in increased tourism revenues, Koerner proposed extending the visa waiver period for European tourists to 30 days.

In reality, many European travelers, especially retirees, want to travel for 30-90 days, making the country's unfavorable policies a major turn-off. 

Comparatively, several other ASEAN countries offer 30-day visa waivers.

In addition to visa waivers for European tourists, Vietnam issues e-visas, but only citizens from 24 countries are eligible to apply. 

Visitors on e-visas who wish to stay longer than a month must reapply.

“We suggest increasing the visa-free period for European travelers to 30 days," Koerner said.

"In addition, three- and six-month visas should be issued to citizens from some countries.”

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Thanh Ha - N.Binh / Tuoi Tre News


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