Eurocham Calls for Vietnam to Expand Visa Waiver Program to All EU Member States

The government of Vietnam is seeking to take advantage of its tourism potential by introducing an open visa policy.

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EuroCham Vietnam, the primary advocate for the European business community in Vietnam, is calling for the expansion of Vietnam’s visa waiver list to encompass all 27 EU member states. This strategic move aims to unlock the substantial economic benefits that could arise from a surge in European tourists and business ventures to Vietnam.

The petition, which was submitted in the form of a letter to the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Pham Minh Chinh, has garnered significant backing from Team Europe. Comprised of 18 ambassadors from the European Union and various national business organizations, this support underscores the importance and urgency of the matter at hand.

According to Gabor Fluit, Chairman of EuroCham Vietnam, the planned expansion will attract a significant influx of tourists from the EU market, which boasts a population of over 500 million. By eliminating barriers that may hinder high-income international travelers from visiting Vietnam, this development is expected to generate remarkable economic opportunities for the country, particularly following a challenging period in recent years.

According to Gabor Fluit, European travelers are frequently seen in significant quantities and are renowned for their lengthy visits and strong financial capability. Their stays of two weeks or longer enable them to have a greater impact on the economy and potentially explore business prospects. Accommodating visitors so they can generate additional value is deemed crucial.

Chairman Gabor Fluit highlighted the significance of enhancing visa exemption policies, introducing the Michelin list, and acknowledging Vietnam’s North-South Railway as an extraordinary train journey according to Lonely Planet. These measures are essential in driving tourism’s positive impact on Vietnam’s GDP.

According to the speaker, the confluence of these strategies, along with the increasing international acknowledgment and fascination with Vietnam, holds significant promise for boosting economic development and establishing Vietnam as a pre-eminent contender in the worldwide tourism arena.

 Na Hang-Lam Binh Nature Reserve in the northern province of Tuyen Quang – a national special tourist attraction. Photo: Le Mai/The Hanoi Times

EuroCham Vietnam acknowledges and values the Vietnamese Government’s recent initiatives in streamlining its visa processes. These efforts include extending the validity of e-visas to 90 days with multiple entries starting from August 15, as well as extending the duration of visa-free stays to 45 days.

According to Hoang Nhan Chinh, Director of the Secretariat of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board (TAB), the recent policy change presents a favorable opportunity for international travelers to prolong their stays and frequent visits to Vietnam.

This presents a significant opportunity for Vietnam’s robust tourism industry to enhance its competitiveness in comparison to neighboring countries, particularly Thailand.

There is a substantial level of optimism among local experts regarding the recent amendment made by the National Assembly to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam. This amendment aims to enhance e-visas and visa-free stays, with the objective of attracting an increased number of international visitors to the country.

Dang Huong Giang, the Director of the Hanoi Tourism Department, emphasized the significance of extending the stay for international tourists. This strategic move is expected to greatly benefit Vietnam’s tourism industry by attracting affluent visitors and enhancing the overall quality of services offered.

Pham Ha, the chairman of LuxGroup, a travel company based in Hanoi that focuses on inbound tourism, expressed his anticipation for the long-awaited visa policy change. He views this as a favorable opportunity for the business community to tap into lucrative markets known for their high spending.

“Pham Phuong Anh, CEO of Viet Media Travel JSC, stated that the implementation of the newly introduced visa policy is projected to result in a significant annual growth of foreign guests, ranging from 5% to 25%. In response to this expected surge in international tourists, our organization has been actively engaged in negotiations with our valued partners to guarantee the maintenance of exceptional quality in our products and services.”

Creating Memorable Long-Day Tours

 A foreign tourist learns how to wrap chung cakes at Duong Lam Ancient Village. Photo: Hoai Nam/The Hanoi Times

  

Many travel companies are now offering attractive long-day tours, taking advantage of Introducing Vietnam’s New Visa Policy: Opening Doors for International Tourists. Travel companies have successfully designed and launched attractive and engaging products, particularly long-day tours, to cater to the growing demand from international travelers. This new visa policy aims to expand visa exemption for international tourists, making it easier and more convenient for them to visit Vietnam. With this policy in place, Vietnam is poised to attract a larger number of international tourists and boost its tourism industry.

Developing Long-Stay Packages to Meet Tourist Demands

Le Hong Thai, the director of Hanoitourist, a leading tour operator, emphasizes the importance of catering to tourists with longer stays. Thai advises businesses to develop new products with a strong experiential value, centering on eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, and luxury cruises. By embracing these trends, companies can better meet the evolving demands of today’s travelers.

According to the spokesperson, the average trip length offered to customers from Europe, Australia, and the United States has increased significantly. Previously, the average trip lasted for nine to 10 days, but now it has been extended to nearly 20 days.

Cao Tri Dung, the Chairman of Vietnam TravelMart JSC, proudly announces that our travel agency specializes in providing exclusive long-day tours complemented with resort accommodations. In addition, we are excited to collaborate with our esteemed partners in the central provinces of Hue and Quang Nam to curate immersive and enriching experiential tours, highlighting the captivating traditional culture of the Cham people.

Nguyen Cong Hoan, the CEO of Flamingo Redtours, emphasized that by having a stay of 45 days or less, businesses have the opportunity to create various sustainable tourism offerings. Currently, European and American travelers often include both Vietnam and neighboring countries in their travel itineraries.

In the previous manner, travelers would traditionally travel from Hanoi to Laos, Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh City, and subsequently return to Hanoi. This itinerary allowed the company to not only offer tour packages to visitors in Vietnam but also extend its services to Laos and Cambodia. The company’s representative mentioned, “Tourists frequently engage in shopping towards the end of their journey, which would further enhance our sales.”

 Local staff at Danang International Airport welcome travelers to the beach city of Danang. Photo: Quang Hai/ The Hanoi Times

According to Huynh Phan Phuong Hoang, Deputy Director General of Vietravel, the implementation of the new visa policy is expected to significantly enhance the tourism industry’s performance during the year-end peak season. Hoang is optimistic that the industry will surpass its goal of attracting eight million international tourists this year.

The speaker emphasized that the potential expansion of the list of visa-free countries will provide additional opportunities to attract international visitors, particularly in the third quarter. Furthermore, the pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry is anticipated to diminish as it rebounds.

The Vietnam Tourism Association advises Vietnamese embassies, localities, and businesses to develop a comprehensive communication strategy to effectively inform their partners about the new visa policy.

The association posits that extending the visa period will offer advantageous circumstances and prospects for local travel companies to make a noteworthy impact on the advancement of the tourism sector and further the objective of positioning Vietnam as a premier travel destination in Southeast Asia by 2030.