Vietnam extends visa waiver for UK, France travellers

From the beginning of July, citizens from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy will get visa exemptions for the next three years, until June 30, 2021. Vietnam has first offered visa waivers for citizens from five European countries in July, 2015. The policy has been updated annually and would have expired at the end of June.

Vietnam is among those countries which has strictest visa policy in Asia. The country currently offers visa waivers to visitors from 24 countries and territories, including the ASEAN member countries. Vietnam has tried to improve the situation with an e-visa policy which is now available to people from 46 countries.

Minister, Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung has said the government would consider proposals from the Vietnam Tourism Association on the extension of the period of stay from 15 to 30 days and expansion of visa exemptions for more countries.

Western arrivals to Vietnam soared in recent years, with 720,000 in 2015, 855,000 in 2016, and 1,500,000 in 2017. In the first five months of 2018, foreign arrivals to Vietnam crossed 6.7 million, up 27.6 per cent annually. The number of European visitors rose by 11.8 per cent year-on-year, including those from France (13.1 per cent), the UK (9.6 per cent), Germany (8.5 per cent), and Italy (18.3 per cent).

Easier visa application procedures for foreign tourists, as well as visa exemptions for visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain is expected to  attract more tourists from these markets.