Tuesday , April 23 2024

HCMC proposes expanding list of eligible countries for visa exemption

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have proposed that the central government consider expanding the list of countries eligible for visa exemptions in order to speed up tourism recovery post Covid.

After Vietnam reopened to international tourism on March 15, Ho Chi Minh City recorded a slower recovery in international tourist arrivals than its regional neighbors, the Department of Tourism said in a proposal.

Strict visa policies and limited tourism promotion campaigns have been hindering the city’s tourism recovery, it added.

City authorities called on the government to offer visa exemptions for more countries and to prolong visa-free stays from the current 15 to 30 days to attract Western tourists who want to stay longer in the country.

In the first 10 months of this year, HCMC welcomed 2.65 million foreign arrivals, meeting 76% of this year’s target.

This year, the city is hoping to welcome 3.5 million foreign tourists.

While Vietnam waives visas for nationals of only 24 countries for stays of 14-90 days, it only issues a one-month single-entry e-visa to visitors from all other countries.

HCMC was among Asia-Pacific cities recording the slowest recoveries in international tourist arrivals with an estimated drop of 69% against pre-pandemic levels, according to Spain-based travel data and analytics company ForwardKeys.

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