Vietnam abolishes visas for 6 European countries from July 1

BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) - At the recent Mekong Tourism Forum in Danang, Vietnam National Administration Chairman Nguyen Van Tuan confirmed that the government will finally allow new countries to be ex

Vietnam abolishes visas for 6 European countries from July 1

BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – At the recent Mekong Tourism Forum in Danang, Vietnam National Administration Chairman Nguyen Van Tuan confirmed that the government will finally allow new countries to be exempted of visa formalities. The five countries benefiting from the new measure are France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. “The new regulation is due to be activated from July 1 normally,” indicated the VNAT Chairman. Belarus will also be exempted from a visa although it will have little effect to lift arrivals on a global scale.

Among the five countries which will benefit of the exemption, France, Germany, and the UK are among the top incoming markets for Vietnam. All together, they generated last year a total of 635,489 arrivals, a market share of 8% of all arrivals into the country. Among European countries, France remains the strongest with total arrivals reaching 214,000 tourists last year followed by the UK with 202,000 arrivals and Germany with 142,000. France and the UK have, however, seen total arrivals declining by 6% during the first five months of 2015, while Germany was progressing moderately by 0.6%. The exemption of a visa could easily help those countries growing their total arrivals by an additional 250,000 to 400,000 visitors during the next 3 years.

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The measure will be accompanied by a promotional campaign from VNAT with media and travel agent fam trips being organized. “This is a first step, and we hope that more countries will follow. Australia, the USA, or Canada for example could be in the medium term benefit from a similar measure,” added Nguyen Van Tuan. In total, 23 countries will now be exempted from the visa.

Vietnam has been confronted since the beginning of this year by a dramatic drop in total arrivals. For the first 5 months of this year, total arrivals are down by 12.6% with almost all countries affected. Of a total of 30 top foreign markets, only 7 show a growth so far this year. Declines are particularly dramatic from China, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, all down by around 30%. China total arrivals for example stand at only 164,000 compared to 700,000 for the first 5 months of 2014. Russia is also down by 25% from a total of 146,000 arrivals from January to May 2014 compared to 22,000 from January to May 2015.

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