More than 2.26 million travelers visited Phu Quoc Island in the first nine months of 2017, an increase of 8.8 percent over the same period last year.
In some countries, expat investor programs are being applied, under which people are eligible to apply for permanent residence if they make investments there.
To obtain permanent residence cards, investors have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy properties or government bonds. The investors are generally wealthy people who can make great contributions to the development of local economies.
Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island is considering a similar plan. Under the draft document on the organization of special economic zones, the government is considering allowing foreigners to get long-term residence cards in Phu Quoc if they can satisfy requirements.
If a foreigner invests $5 million or more in Phu Quoc, lives there for five years and more and doesn’t violate the laws, he will have the opportunity to get a permanent residence card which will replace a visa.
To increase the attractiveness of Phu Quoc, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has proposed other investment incentives, such as extending the duration investors can use land and allowing foreigners to own houses for up to 99 years. They might also be allowed to use property as collateral for bank loans.
Vietnam is also planning to slash tariffs for large conglomerates and foreign specialists in an effort to the compete with the well-known ‘tax havens’ in the world.
Troy Griffiths, deputy CEO of Savills Vietnam, said that Phu Quoc has great potential in selling residence cards. Being an island, it is easy to put it under control when eliminating restrictions on residences to attract foreign investors’ cash flow.
However, he said that Vietnam may not follow the existing models applied in tax havens. Some countries offer attractive job opportunities and commitments to slash taxes, becoming rivals to the tax havens.
British Virgin Islands (BVI) has stable economic structure and high competitiveness. However, with more and more taxation agreements and global revenue recognition policies adopted, BVI’s advantages are declining.
Griffiths said that Phu Quoc would focus on industrial development and investment rather than selling residence cards or becoming a place for investors to register business. Therefore, the model Phu Quoc pursues will be different from BVI’s.
By June 2017, Phu Quoc had licensed 233 projects with total capital of $14.4 billion.
Marc Townsend, CEO of CBRE Cambodia, said foreign investors, retired men and wealthy people are interested in the stable political regime, healthcare system and good weather, capability to access international schools, flights connecting with the US, Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore and modern entertainment amenities.