17:19 | 14/07/2016 Entertainment
(VEN) - According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam saw more than 681,000 tourists from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK in the 11 months since the visa exemption policy were adopted, a 15 percent increase over the previous period.
Nearly 342,000 Western European tourists came to Vietnam in the first five months of 2016, a 20.1 percent increase over the same period last year, which was higher in comparison with the 2010-2014 annual average of 5.35 percent and the periodical average of 12.83 percent including tourist numbers from all other markets except for China with 44 percent increase and the Republic of Korea with more than 31 percent.
The majority of Western European tourists to Vietnam are heavy spenders, contributing to a rapid increase in tourism revenues over the period. This meant that the visa exemption policy was a success, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Director General Nguyen Van Tuan.
At the 48th Tourism Working Group Meeting held in Peruvian capital of Lima as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the APEC Policy Support Unit presented a research on the impact of the measures to attract international tourists and pointed out that visa policies would play the most important role in tourism promotion. The electronic visa model was believed to further facilitate tourists but would also have a negative impact due to higher cost.
Vietnam as member of the APEC forum has adopted the visa exemption policy for citizens carrying ordinary passports from France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK since July 1, 2015.
Promoted local and inter-regional tourism development links were also a major contributor to increases in number of foreign tourists to Vietnam during the first five months of 2016 in addition to the visa exemption policy, according to experts.
The visa exemption policy which is scheduled to be cancelled on June 30, 2016 could be extended as the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism has petitioned the government for the continuation with some improvements to further benefit from the policy.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism suggested the government to extend the effective terms of the visa exemption policy to five instead of one year as of now and the visa exemption period from 15 to 30 days, with a view to further facilitating domestic tourism development.