Vietnam actively attracts international tourists again after opening on March 15, but there is a reality that international visitors are forced to cancel their trips to Vietnam due to procedural barriers.
Identifying international visitors to Vietnam peaks near the end of the year, however, some travel businesses that welcome international tourists face difficulties when guests encounter visa barriers.
Mr. Pham Ha, CEO of Lux Group shared with Tien Phong that from the time of opening on March 15, this unit had to cancel 10 international delegations. “The guest had to cancel the trip because he couldn’t get a visa. Except for 13 international markets that are exempt from visas, many visitors in other markets have difficulty applying for visas,” said Mr. Ha.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism experts have noticed a remarkable shift in both tourism trends and the visitor market. Mr. Pham Ha stated, after the pandemic, many new markets from the Americas and Eastern Europe had a need to travel to Vietnam, but there were problems with procedures. “Many Australian and New Zealand guests cannot get visas. Visitors from Sri Lanka also cannot get an e-visa”.
Visa procedures make it difficult for tourists, sometimes customers waiting for an e-visa for up to 12 days are not sure to receive it. “The fact that tourism is open, but the visa policy is not open yet, so international visitors to Vietnam are still sparse,” said Mr. Ha. Despite knowing that the peak season for international visitors must enter the bustling fourth quarter, the visa procedure is becoming one of the barriers to attracting international visitors.
Mr. Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of Da Nang Tourism Association reflected the trend of individual tourists traveling more after the pandemic instead of large groups. However, they have difficulty in doing visa procedures due to regulations on guarantees. International visitors who do electronic visa procedures have to wait for a long time without taking the initiative, making them forced to cancel their tickets to Vietnam. This is the reason why Vietnam’s tourism is less attractive and less competitive compared to other developed tourism countries in the region.
“We must have a policy in line with that trend, how to catch this stream of retail customers to avoid them having difficulty choosing to travel to another country,” suggested Mr. Cao Tri Dung.
Receiving feedback from a number of businesses, the Tourism Advisory Council recently held an online seminar to acknowledge and prepare a quick report to send to Board IV to propose to the Government.
Among the recommendations to attract international visitors, the Tourism Advisory Council put the visa issue as a top priority that needs to be improved: Expanding the list of visa exemptions for countries such as the US, India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands…; Apply for multiple entry and exit visas and are valid for more days (30 days); E-visas and visas at the border need to be more convenient, reducing paperwork and procedures.