How may the new Vietnam visa exemption affect tourism?

From July 2015, Vietnam granted new visa exemption for citizens with a passport from UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. These people are now allowed to stay up to 15 days in Vietnam without visa. Any stay lasting longer than 15 days still requires people to get a visa. That is certainly a positive move from Vietnamese officials. But let’s have a closer look at how this new regulation can affect the tourism industry [and not only].

Which tourism will benefit the most from it?

First, and we probably owe them partly this new regulation, the big tour operators based in Europe. They sell 12- and 14-day group tours to Vietnam in all-inclusive packages: flights, visa and full board tour in Vietnam. The visa exemption is saving them cost and time. It enables them to have a more attractive offer and a lighter load of administrative paperwork. These big tour operators always work with a local DMC (Destination Management Company) that handles all operations in Vietnam and that will be direct beneficiaries.

The second kind of tourism that could be boosted with this new visa exemption is the “regional expats tourism”. China and Southeast Asia countries all are home to thousands of expats from UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. These expatriate citizens are living 1- to 3-hour flight away from Vietnam. A family of 4 used to pay around 200 USD only for visa if they wanted to come for a short vacation in Vietnam. Without these 200 USD we can hope this same family living in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, China or Cambodia will come more often to Vietnam; for a long weekend in Halong or for a few-day-hike in the Northern mountains. 

But… [there always is a “but”]

This move from Vietnam authorities is definitely a positive one. We can only regret that they limited the visa exemption to 15 days, while 21 days would have been even better. We can presume that most of the travelers who planned to spend 16, 17 or even 18 days in Vietnam will now cut their holiday to 15 days in order to squeeze visa payment. Not a big deal, especially if at the same time it induces a raise in international arrivals.

And let’s not forget

When we hear “visa”, we immediately think tourism. But this new visa exemption will serve other industries as well. Business trips to Vietnam will cost less and be administratively lighter. It may impact some business sectors by facilitating visits to Vietnam. International consultants and services providers, for example, have the doors wide opened to come promote or deliver services in Vietnam.  

 Key: Vietnam visa

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