Vietnam lags behind Southeast Asian neighbors in tourism recovery

Vietnam lags behind Southeast Asian neighbors in tourism recovery

Overseas vacationers inside Ben Thanh Market in downtown HCMC, July 2022. Picture by VnExpress/Hoang Phong

Vietnamese travel corporations anticipate relaxed visa insurance policies to extend international vacationer numbers because the nation lags far behind Southeast Asian neighbors publish reopening.

Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group, which focuses on organizing luxurious cruise excursions, stated revenues within the first six months this yr solely reached 21 p.c of the full-year goal as visa insurance policies stay a significant barrier in attracting international vacationers.

Ha stated his firm has misplaced as much as 10 teams of international vacationers attributable to visa points since Vietnam reopened worldwide tourism from March 15.

“Many international vacationers had canceled their journeys to Vietnam as they may not get an entry visa. These present visa insurance policies are main boundaries for Vietnam’s tourism restoration,” Ha lamented.

Vietnam is trailing its neighbors in tourism restoration because the variety of international vacationers to the nation within the first half of this yr reached solely 602,000, a lot decrease than Thailand (2.2 million), Malaysia (2 million), Singapore (1.5 million) and the Philippines (814,000).

After two years of border closures, Vietnam has allowed quarantine-free entry and resumed its pre-pandemic visa exemption coverage for 13 key tourism markets together with Western European international locations from mid-March with a most keep of as much as 15 days.

For different markets, the nation solely points a one-month single-entry e-visa, as an alternative of three-month visas like earlier than the pandemic.

Nguyen Ngoc Toan, director of Photographs Travel Firm that brings European guests to Vietnam, stated his firm is going through difficulties in bringing again vacationers attributable to restricted flights and visa points.

Presently, solely residents of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Kyrgyzstan are provided a visa-free keep of 30 days. However most Asian vacationers usually make brief journeys of 4 to 5 days whereas European vacationers are eager on longer holidays from 18-21 days.

Toan instructed the federal government considers prolonging the keep of vacationers from European international locations from the present 15 to 30 days.

“The tourism trade nonetheless has an opportunity to spice up international vacationer numbers for the second half of this yr, particularly within the peak winter vacation season for Western vacationers,” Toan stated.

CEO of Allez Voyage Tourism Firm Nguyen Xuan Quynh stated her firm has not but obtained giant teams of international vacationers since reopening as many complained Vietnam’s visa insurance policies are “unattractive.”

“Most Southeast Asian international locations supply visa exemption of as much as 30 days for international vacationers. Vietnam is dropping out to its neighbors,” Quynh added.

Specialists from the government-run Personal Financial Growth Analysis Board additionally petitioned the federal government to develop the visa exemption listing for potential tourism markets like Australia, Belgium, Canada, India, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.S.

The council stated the present visa coverage is “but to satisfy the demand of post-Covid travel, and lacks competitiveness in comparison with neighboring international locations.”

This yr, Vietnam targets 5 million international arrivals, round 30 p.c of pre-pandemic ranges