16:34 | 09/05/2016 Entertainment
(VEN) - The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) will ask the government to continue, and if possible, to extend the list of countries that will benefit from the current two week visa exemption policy. The visa exemptions offered to tourists from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK will terminate on July 1.
Tourists from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK increased by 14 percent quarterly over the past three quarters thanks to the new visa exemptions
The VNAT has reviewed the nine-month implementation of the policy and reported to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. In addition, it also suggested extending the policy to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and received a positive answer from him three months ago, according to Nguyen Van Tuan, Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism at a quarterly press conference held recently.
According to a VNAT report, the number of western tourists visiting Vietnam increased considerably in the first quarter, especially from the countries benefiting from the exemptions, with a 28 percent increase from Italy, 27 percent from Spain, 23 percent from the UK, 19 percent from Germany and 11 percent from France.
Director of the VNAT's Tourism Marketing Department Le Tuan Anh said that the figures were in marked contrast to the first half of 2015 which witnessed no increases in tourist number from the five countries. However, the third quarter of 2015 saw a 4 percent increase, the last quarter 16 percent and the first quarter of 2016 20 percent, thanks to the policy.
Visa exemptions are widely used in other countries to encourage increased tourist numbers, Indonesia has recently added 79 new countries to its list of visa-exempted countries, increasing the total number of visa-exempted countries to 169.
Along with the implementation of visa exemption policy, the government has also promoted the implementation of Decision 92 on tourism development solutions to be applied for the new period and directives 14 and 18 on tourism security. All these policy, solutions and directives have contributed to boosting domestic tourism.
To achieve more, the VNAT has planned to carry out a series of key tasks in the remaining months of the year including completing and submitting for approval the draft of amended Tourism Law, tourism development fund establishment package tourist visa exemption projects.
Director General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan said, “The visa exemption policy has had a positive impact on the domestic tourism market as it helped increase the number of tourists to Vietnam from visa-exempted countries.”