Vietnam is looking to ease visa requirements to increase the number of foreign tourists. Among the changes being discussed is increasing the duration of e-visa recipients to 45 days, as well as increasing the list of visa-exempt countries.
Vietnam’s government is looking to ease visa requirements to attract more foreign visitors to the country and boost the tourism industry.
Among the changes being discussed include offering more visa waivers for foreign tourists, expanding the e-visa program and increasing the length of stay for visitors.
Vietnam expects to receive 110 million tourists in 2023, with about 8 million coming from foreigners. This is an increase from the 3.77 million foreign tourists who arrived in Vietnam in 2022, but is still small compared to the 18 million foreign visitors in 2019. In addition, total tourism turnover is expected to reach US$27 billion in 2023
Increasing the list of visa-exempt countries
The government plans to waive visas for more countries. The country currently has visa exemptions for travelers from 25 countries; this is small compared to 162 for Malaysia, 157 for the Philippines and 68 for Thailand.
13 countries from Europe and two from Asia are visa-free and can stay in Vietnam for up to 15 days. Visitors from nine ASEAN countries can stay up to 30 days in Vietnam. In addition, the government offers eVisas for up to 80 nations without the need to go through a guaranteeing agency or organization.
Extending the term of electronic visas
The government is also exploring the strategy of extending e-visas from 30 days to a maximum of three months (45 days). E-Visas will be valid for multiple or single entry. Currently, visitors from 80 nations can enter Vietnam on a one-month single-entry visa.
Revitalizing Vietnam’s tourism industry by branching out into non-traditional markets
In addition to easing visa requirements for foreign tourists, Vietnam’s tourism industry needs to diversify in terms of attracting visitors from non-traditional markets.
For example, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia have a combined population of over 300 million and are geographically closer compared to foreign visitors who come from the traditional markets of Europe and the US. In addition, the growing middle class in these Southeast Asian countries and the increasing trade they do with Vietnam are also important reasons why Southeast Asia can be an important source of income for tourism in Vietnam.
Vietnam also has an opportunity to develop its halal tourism industry, given that 42 percent of Southeast Asia, or approximately 240 million people, adhere to Islam in the region. In the past few years, non-OIC countries such as Japan, France, Italy and South Korea have been trying to accommodate Muslim tourists by providing important facilities such as prayer rooms and halal food.
These countries are eager to capture global halal tourism spending, which is expected to reach US$274 billion in 2023 and see around 140 million Muslim travelers.
As a key food producer in the region, Vietnam has already seen an increase in businesses applying for halal certification. About 60 percent of the country’s provinces and cities are producing halal-certified goods for export in 2021.
The ASEAN Briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia and maintains offices throughout ASEAN, including Singapore, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang in Vietnam, Munich and Essen in Germany, Boston and Salt Lake City in the United States, Milan, Conelliano and Udine in Italy, in addition to Jakarta and Batam in Indonesia. We also have partner firms in Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Thailand, as well as our practices in China and India. Please contact us at [email protected] or visit our website at www.dezshira.com.