Vietnam Set to Increase Tourist Numbers with New Visa Policy, Aiming for 12 Million Visitors This Year

At the 26th Sao Paulo Forum in Brazil, US officials declared Vietnam to be one of their key partners in the region. Meanwhile, Vietnam is expecting to welcome 12 million foreign tourists this year with its new visa policy, and the IMF predicts an economic recovery in the second half of the year. These stories and more can be found in today's Vietnam News (Jul. 4).

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Vietnam News Today (Jul. 4) notable headlines

Vietnam hoped to welcome 12 million foreign tourists this year thanks to new visa policy

Vietnam attends 26th Sao Paulo Forum in Brazil

Vietnam’s economic growth to recover in H2: IMF expert

US considers Vietnam one of its key partners in region, say US officials

More hot days expected in July this year

Search volume for Vietnamese tourism ranks 6th worldwide

Petrol prices fall sharply following July 3 adjustment

UN Under Secretary-General begins Vietnam visit

US student volunteers to build charity houses in central Vietnam

A foreigner enters Vietnam via Noi Bai International Airport. (Photo: VNA)
A foreigner enters Vietnam via Noi Bai International Airport. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam hoped to welcome 12 million foreign tourists this year thanks to new visa policy

Vietnam’s new visa policy may help the country welcome 12 million foreign tourists this year, far surpassing the target of 8 million set previously, said Hoang Nhan Chinh, Secretariat Director of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB).

On June 24, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved the Law on amendments and supplements to a number of articles of the Law on the Exit and Entry of Vietnamese Citizens, as well as the Law on Foreigners’ Entry into, Exit from, Transit through, and Residence in Vietnam.

Accordingly, upon being granted an e-visa, a foreigner can enter and exit an unlimited number of times within 90 days, without having to go through procedures for obtaining a new visa.

Citizens of countries that are unilaterally exempted from visas by Vietnam will be granted temporary residence for 45 days (up from 15 days) and can be considered for visa issuance and temporary residence extension according to regulations.

Currently, the e-visa issued by the Immigration Department to foreigners through the electronic transaction system is only valid once. Vietnam is issuing e-visas to citizens of 80 countries, cited VNA.

Chinh affirmed that Vietnam’s new visa policy is more favourable, which will give a very strong push to the tourism industry when the peak season of international tourism at the end of the year is coming.

The more favourable policy will help the tourism sector diversify markets, increase the number of visitors to Vietnam, prolong their stays, and increase their spending. In addition, this policy will help raise the number of air passengers, facilitate international trade exchanges, and attract more foreign investors to the country, Chinh stressed.

However, he noted that Vietnam currently allows citizens of only 80 countries to apply for an e-visa to the country, and apply visa exemption for international visitors from 24 countries, much less than other countries in the region such as Thailand (76), Malaysia (156) and Singapore (162).

Therefore, the list of visa-free countries, if quickly expanded, will create a great opportunity to attract more visitors to Vietnam from the third quarter of this year, he said, adding that the more foreign visitors come, the sooner the country’s tourism will recover fully.

At present, Vietnam is applying the unilateral visa exemption policy to 13 countries, namely Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Belarus, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The TAB is proposing the Government expand the application of this policy from August to 33 other countries that include the remaining 20 countries of the European Union, and some other countries with large numbers of visitors to Vietnam, such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland, Chinh added.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Pham Hong Long, Head of the Faculty of Tourism at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said that the openness in visa policy will bring about “dual benefits”, as whether or not foreign visitors evaluate Vietnam as an attractive destination depends on this policy.

According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), a favourable visa policy can increase the number of foreign visitors by 5-25% each year.

However, to make the most of this policy, the non-smoke industry is advised to take concerted measures, including speeding up promotion activities, developing more typical and attractive products, well managing destinations and developing high-quality human resources.

Vietnam welcomed over 5.57 million foreign tourists in the first six months of 2023, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Vietnam attends 26th Sao Paulo Forum in Brazil

A delegation of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) paid a working visit to Brazil from June 29 – July 2 and attended the 26th Sao Paulo Forum themed “Regional integration to advance Latin American and Caribbean sovereignty” in Brasilia capital city of Brazil.

Addressing the forum’s plenary session, the delegation’s head Le Hong Quang, who is a member of the CPV Central Committee and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, thanked communist parties, left-wing and workers’ parties, and progressive forces for their valuable support for Vietnam during its struggles for national independence and reunification in the past, as well as in the cause of national construction and defence at present, according to VOV.

He spoke highly of the development and contributions of left-wing forces in Latin America in promoting regional integration and connectivity, as well as cooperation, development, and peace in the world, expressing his belief that discussions within the framework of the forum will further contribute to promoting integration and strengthening the capacity of nations, thus turning Latin America into a peaceful, united, stable, prosperous, and sustainable region.

Quang also briefed on Vietnam’s socio-economic development and renewal (Doi moi) achievements over the last 37 years, reaffirmed the country’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism, and diversification, and the guideline of building a comprehensive and modern diplomacy based on promoting the combined strength of three pillars – party diplomacy, state diplomacy, and people-to-people diplomacy.

Le Hong Quang, a member of the CPV Central Committee and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Mekong Delta province of An Giang
Le Hong Quang, a member of the CPV Central Committee and Secretary of the Party Committee of the Mekong Delta province of An Giang

Vietnam set a goal to become a developed and high-income country by 2045, he said.

Delegates welcomed Vietnam’s presence at the forum, stressing that that was a great source of encouragement for the left-wing movement in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and the cause of socialism building in regional countries.

During their stay, the Vietnamese delegation had a working session with the President of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil, during which the two sides agreed to expand relations between the CPV and the PT, thus promoting the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two nations in the coming time.

Quang also met with representatives of political parties in the Latin America and Caribbean regions, to express solidarity, and discuss measures to strengthen friendship and cooperation with the parties.

The 26th Sao Paulo Forum saw the participation of 170 delegates from its member nations, 80 international guests and 300 local participants.

Vietnam’s economic growth to recover in H2: IMF expert

Vietnam can return to high growth rates over the medium term, as structural reforms are implemented, Division Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Fiscal Affairs Department Paulo Medas has said.

Medas led an IMF team to Vietnam from June 14-29 to hold discussions for the 2023 Article IV consultation with the country.

In an interview granted to the VietnamPlus e-newspaper under the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), he said that Vietnam’s economic growth is projected to recover in the second half of 2023, reaching around 4.7% for the year, supported by a rebound in exports and expansionary domestic policies. Inflation is expected to remain contained below the State Bank of Vietnam’s 4.5% ceiling.

The IMF predicts the world economy will continue facing difficulties in 2024 and can only recover in 2025, he said.

According to him, the measures taken by the central bank and the government such as interest rate cuts, tax reduction, and public investment and spending expansion have helped soften the impact of external and domestic headwinds.

The expert stated that the SBV was able to both contain price and liquidity pressures in a very challenging environment. Greater exchange rate flexibility and continued efforts to modernise the monetary policy framework will provide significant dividends.

Further monetary policy easing, and measures to boost credit growth, at this stage will likely be less effective and more risky, given global rates are likely to stay high for long, and banks in Vietnam are already facing rising non-performing loans and high loan-to-deposit ratios, he noted.

In this context, fiscal policy should take the lead in providing support to the economy and the poorest and most vulnerable groups, especially as the government has fiscal space. The planned increase in spending (wages and public investment) and cut in taxes will help boost domestic demand, reported VNA.

Vietnam’s economic growth projected to recover in the second half of 2023 (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam’s economic growth projected to recover in the second half of 2023 (Photo: VNA)

“The current challenging economic environment and rising non-performing loans require the swift development of an action plan to protect financial stability and accelerating needed reforms. This would include strengthening the bank crisis management framework and improving bank regulation and supervision. The authorities should take advantage of the ongoing revision of the Law on Credit Institutions to develop more effective bank resolution and emergency liquidity frameworks,” Medas said.

To help Vietnam achieve its future macro-economic management goals, the IMF expert stressed that the government needs to maintain its reform efforts in the medium term to achieve the set medium and long term goals and become a developed economy by 2045 and to ensure total greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to zero by 2025.

It is also necessary to reform the business environment by reforming administrative procedures, creating favourable conditions for the development of enterprises, invest in infrastructure, ensure renewable energy in the next 5-10 years, and pour capital into technology in education and training, he added.

US considers Vietnam one of its key partners in region, say US officials

A delegation of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, led by its head Le Hoai Trung, paid a visit to the US from June 28 to July 2 at at the invitation of the Department of State.

In Washington D.C., the delegation had meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development Samantha Power, Assistant Secretary of State in charge of East Asia – Asia and Pacific Daniel Kritenbrink, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Sasha Baker, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council Ted Osius, and other former US officials and senators who support the development of Vietnam-US relations.

In New York, the delegation worked with United Nations Under Secretary-General for Policy Guy Ryder, had an online exchange with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and met with close American friends, leftist friends and representatives of the Communist Party of the United States of America.

During the meetings, the two sides agreed that the Vietnam – US Comprehensive Partnership has developed positively in various fields over the past years. US officials affirmed that the US considers Vietnam one of its key partners in the region, and that the two countries’ relations receive support of both Democrats and Republicans.

Appreciating the recent exchanges and contacts between the two sides, especially the successful phone conversation between Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden in March 2023, Secretary Blinken, Security Adviser Sullivan and other officials emphasized the desire to maintain exchanges and contacts at all levels, especially high-level meetings, this year when the two countries are celebrating 10 years of their comprehensive partnership. They also vowed to ramp up bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, climate change response, green energy, education – training, settlement of war consequences, people-to-people exchanges, as well as joint effort to solve global problems.

Meanwhile, UN leaders highly appreciated Vietnam’s development success, cooperation and contributions within the UN framework, and expressed their wish that Vietnam would further promote its important role in solving global problems.

Leftist friends and those from the Communist Party USA also spoke highly of Vietnam’s development achievements and voiced their support for Vietnam as well as the development of Vietnam – US relations, cited VOV.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US official hold a working session with the delegation of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations led by its head Le Hoai Trung, in Washington D.C.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US official hold a working session with the delegation of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations led by its head Le Hoai Trung, in Washington D.C.

Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Le Hoai Trung for his part affirmed that Vietnam attaches great importance to relations with the US and it wishes to continue developing relations with the US in the interest of the two peoples, and for peace, friendship, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

He suggested that the two sides continue implementing the outcomes of the phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Joe Biden, increasing high-level exchanges and contacts, and improving the efficiency of bilateral cooperation through Party channels, State diplomacy and people to people exchanges.

During his meeting with the UN leaders, Trung assured them that Vietnam highly values the UN’s role and it will continue to make active and responsible contributions to the common affairs of the international community.

For leftist friends and those from the Communist Party USA, Trung thanked them for their support to Vietnam in its past struggle for national liberation and construction. He also put forwards directions to promote cooperation between the two sides in the coming time.

More hot days expected in July this year

Vietnam is likely to experience slightly higher temperatures in July this year with one or two typhoons expected to hit the South China Sea, according to the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting.

There is a possibility of one or two typhoons and tropical depressions in the South China Sea that could affect the northern and north central regions of Vietnam, said the deputy head of the Climate Forecast Department at the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting, Nguyen Duc Hoa.

The north central, northern midlands, and central regions are expected to experience more hot days than average days over the next few years.

The northern midlands and north central regions will experience heat waves for around 10-15 days in the first half of July. The heat waves may last longer in the northern and central coastal regions.

The southwest monsoon is likely to cause many days of rain and thunderstorms in the Central Highlands and southern regions. There may be days with heavy thunderstorms and rain in the late afternoon, VNS reported.

A woman uses a handheld fan in Hà Nội. The average temperature of July this year. — VNA/VNS Photo
A woman uses a handheld fan in Hanoi. The average temperature of July this year. Photo: VNS

“Throughout the country, it is necessary to continue monitoring the occurrence of thunderstorms, whirlwinds, lightning, and hail, especially in the northern, Central Highlands, and southern regions,” Hoa said.

He added that the average temperature of July this year will be about 0.5 degree Celsius higher than the average of previous years. In the northern and northern central regions, the temperatures may be 0.5-1 degree Celsius higher.

Hòa said due to the impacts of heat waves, especially in the northern and central regions, residents and authorities need to be vigilant against the risk of fires and explosions in residential and production areas due to the increased demand for electricity.

He said there is a high risk of forest fires, especially in the central region.

Dangerous weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, whirlwinds, lightning, and hail continue to occur throughout the country, which can significantly impact production and daily activities, Hoa said.

Rosie Nguyen