Experts argue that in order to enhance foreign visitor numbers and spending, Vietnam should extend visa exemption to more nations and allow stays of up to 30 days.
At a tourist conference in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Tran Dinh Thien, a member of the prime minister's economic advisory group, said that now "was the chance we needed to take advantage of to open tourism broader and affirm Vietnam's position on the global tourism map."
As Vietnam resumed inbound tourism after nearly two years of lockdown, the government agreed last week to restore its unilateral visa exemption program for people of 13 nations.
Citizens from Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. will be allowed to visit Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa regardless of passport type and entry purpose.
"Vietnam should also consider prolonging the stay of tourists from European countries from the current 15 days because Westerners tend to make longer trips, especially retirees. Therefore, the 15-day visa exemption is not enough to attract them," Thien said.
Currently, only citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Kyrgyzstan are eligible for a 30-day visa-free stay. However, according to industry insiders, most Asian visitors choose short visits of four to five days.
Despite the fact that Vietnam has reopened international tourism with more eased entrance requirements, foreign travelers must still present negative Covid-19 test results upon arrival.