Number of foreign visitors to Vietnam increases
Foreign visitors will continue to increase by this year end and beyond partly due to the positive visa policy, said an official of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).
Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the VNAT, said that after 13 consecutive months of a drop in the numbers, the total number of foreign tourists recovered from July this year.
The figure gained a year-on-year surge of 5.1% to 593,566 foreign tourists in July, of 7.5% to 664,985 in August, and 8.3% to 626,324 in September.
That meant the industry had overcome difficulties over the past but it could not reach its target on increasing the number of foreign visitors to eight million for this year, he said.
The recovery in the number over the past was mainly due to positive effects of visa exemption for five western European countries on the market.
After the visa exemption, visitors from the United Kingdom increased by 16%, from Italy by 25%, and from Germany by 15%. Spanish visitors went up by 9%, and visitors from France rose by 8% when compared to the numbers before the visa exemption.
The growth of visitors from western European supported the growth of foreign visitors to Vietnam while visitors from China, the largest tourist market of Vietnam, dropped.
By this year-end, the domestic tourism industry expected the growth to continue because those months are part of the tourist season, Tuan said.
If the recovery continues by this year end, Vietnam will receive 7.8 million foreign visitors for this whole year, a figure similar to 2014.
To retain the growth by this year-end and beyond, the administration has suggested to the government that they give visa exemption to visitors from 19 key tourism markets of Vietnam, especially European countries.
The government should increase the number of days of visa exemption against the current 15 under the law on entry, exit, transit, and residence of foreigners in Vietnam to attract more foreign visitors because they often undertake long journeys, he said.
Meanwhile, the administration will create favourable conditions for foreign film crews visiting Vietnam to shoot for their films. For instance, a Warner Bros film crew visited to a cave in Vietnamese famous cave complex Phong Nha – Ke Bang, as they scouted locations for a film about Peter Pan.
Tuan said the creation of encouraging conditions for foreign film crews of large global film production houses to shoot in Vietnam will be the best and fastest way to bring the nation to foreign travellers.
In early 2016, the administration will ask the government to grant an extension on visa exemptions for visitors of five western European countries, Tuan said. That will ensure that tourist companies make plans on promotion and advertisement in the long-term.
The administration will co-operate with partners in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia to develop tourism products connecting Phu Quoc Island to tourist spots in Cambodia and Thailand, and tours from the north eastern region of Thailand to Laos and Vietnam.