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PM urges to expand visa exemption for international tourists
Khanh Khanh 22:50, 2023/03/15
2023 is the year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and many countries, as an opportunity for Vietnam to host many promotion activities for Vietnam's tourism

Vietnam needs to amend and complete visa policies for international visitors and increase the number of countries eligible for the visa exemption and e-visa program.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested relevant ministries and branches to promote tourism development at the virtual national conference on tourism in 2023 with the theme "Boosting recovery - Accelerating development", on March 15.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks at the conference. Photo: VPG

"It is necessary to facilitate domestic and international airlines to open routes and directly connect Vietnam with key and potential tourism markets. Another priority is strengthening international cooperation with multinational corporations and tour groups to attract large and potential tourist markets," Chinh said.

At the conference, participants, including tourism experts and businesses, discussed solutions to remove obstacles for the tourism industry. Many of them proposed a focus on tourism packages for high-spending guests.

Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association Vu The Binh said that many things need to be done, including State support, to make Vietnam a high-end tourist market.

Golf is a sport but has become an attractive product in the country's tourism industry, with an increasing number of tourists traveling to Vietnam to play golf. In 2019, there were five million South Korean visitors to Vietnam, of which more than one million tourists came to play golf.

"Many countries in the world have developed golf courses to attract tourists, so we propose the Government research a reduction from 20% to 5-10% or exempt from excise tax for businesses providing golf services for international tourists. This will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Vietnam's tourism," Binh said.

Echoing Binh, BRG Group Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Nga said there have never been so many tourists coming to Vietnam to play golf as now, and Vietnam has been recognized as Asia's best golf destination. She suggested Government reduce the current 10% value-added tax and 20% excise tax to attract more tourists. The tax rates are 5-7% higher than other countries.

Nga said her group operates world-class hotels and resorts managed by the world's top international corporations. It has the strength of a combination of hotel tourism with golf. The group's prominent guests are willing to pay 2-3 times higher than normal visitors to Vietnam, to $200-$300 per day with a 3-4-day trip.

In 2023, BRG Group plans to receive 380,000 visitors through international golf tournaments, Nga said.

She said to welcome eight million international visitors and reach a revenue of VND650 trillion (US$27.3 billion) in 2023, the tourism industry should focus on international tourists with high spending and long-term stay in Vietnam. As such, she proposed to increase the visa period from two to four weeks for foreign guests.

 BRG Danang Goft Resort. Photo: BRG

Sun Group Chairman Dang Minh Truong gave an in-depth on the revenue from international visitors to Vietnam, who contributed nearly two-thirds to total tourism revenue due to their long stay. Some tourists from key markets can stay up to 15 days, spending from $1,100 -$2,000 for a trip.

He hoped the policy on extending the unilateral visa exemption for key markets should be issued before the summer peak season to realize the goal of welcoming eight million foreign visitors to Vietnam in 2023.

Deputy Foreign Minister Do Hung Viet said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been coordinating with other ministries and sectors to promote negotiations on visa exemption agreements with other countries, including Latin America, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Maldives.

The ministry proposed the Government assign the Ministry of Public Security to continue studying measures to facilitate tourists entering Vietnam in the coming time.

He said 2023 is the year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and many countries - these are all key tourism markets of Vietnam. "It is an opportunity for Vietnam to host many promotion activities for Vietnam's tourism."

Vietnam welcomes first tourist groups from China on March 15

About 80 Chinese tourists, the first Chinese tourist group, traveled to Vietnam through the Lao Cai International Bordergate today [March 15] after three years of hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The visitors came after Vietnam has been added to China's second phase of a pilot program for outbound group tours, starting March 15. The group of tourists mainly from Yunnan and Anhui provinces (China) will have a four-day tour in Ha Long City (Quang Ninh Province) and Hanoi.

Vuong Trinh Quoc, Head of the Economic Zone Management Board of Lao Cai Province, said to ensure the reception of tourist delegations from China, functional forces at Lao Cai International Bordergate created favorable conditions for the tourists to carry out customs clearance procedures.

On the same day, the northern province of Quang Ninh welcomed a group of 150 Chinese tourists entering through Mong Cai Border Gate. Meanwhile, the northern province of Lang Son is estimated to welcome the first group of 124 Chinese tourists through Huu Nghi Border Gate, the group will have four days of experience in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay.

On March 16, in Ho Chi Minh City, BT Tour Company plans to welcome a group of 16 Chinese guests at Tan Son Nhat Airport. The tour operator’s Director Le Hong Tu said that the delegation will stay in Vietnam for 8 days, using 4–5-star services. They will visit and experience many services in Dalat, Nha Trang, Mui Ne and Ho Chi Minh City.

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