December 19, 2019
Vietnam e-visa Visa On Arrival

Vietnam Extends Visa Exemption to Eight Countries till 2022

If you’re visiting Vietnam for a holiday, you might be happy to know that the country is extending their visa exemption program. So if you are a citizen of Finland, Belarus, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, South Korea, Japan, and Russia, you can visit the country visa-free for the next 3 years.

Here’s everything you need to know about the extension of Vietnam’s visa exemptions.

Boost Tourism Industry

In an effort to boost Vietnam’s tourism industry, the government launched the visa exemption program. This was around four years ago and was supposed to end this year. Recently, they have decided to extend the program it until 2022. According to the country’s National Administration of Tourism, the program has been a success. Thus, in order to lure more foreign travelers to come for a visit in the coming years, they have decided to extend it. Under the program, citizens of the aforementioned countries will be able to stay in Vietnam for 15 days.

Vietnam’s Visa Exemption Program started in 2015. When this was first rolled out, 13 countries were able to take advantage of the free visa. The program was supposed to end this coming December 31st. But seeing that it’s been a success, Vietnam’s Tourism Authority decided to extend it for three more years.

Increasing Number of Visit

The decision to extend the visa exemption program was made because of the increasing number of foreign visitors in Vietnam. In 2018, about a third of all the foreign visitors in Vietnam are South Koreans, Japanese, and Russians. All three nationalities were part of the visa exemption program.

South Koreans are the second largest group of foreign visitors who came to the country, next to Chinese. In 2018, there are about 3.5 million South Koreans who came to the country for a holiday. There’s a steady increase of 44% on the number of South Koreans who came for a visit. They make up 22% of all the international visitors in the country in 2018.

Next to South Koreans are Japanese. According to the country’s Tourism Administration, there are about 800,000 Japanese tourists who visited last year. This was an increase of about 3.6% from the previous year. Meanwhile, Russians are on the sixth. There are about 600,000 of them who came to Vietnam last year. They accounted for 4% of the entire number of foreign visitors into the country.

Aside from the South Koreans, Japanese, and Russians, some Europeans were also part of the visa waiver program. These include citizens of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Belarus. The Vietnam Tourism Authority considers them emerging tourism markets. According to the data from the Administration Tourism of Vietnam, Western Europeans are the biggest spenders of all European visitors. They spend an average of $1,300 in every trip while the rest of the foreign visitors are spending around $900.

Visa Exemption Until 2022

Citizens of Belarus, Finland, Sweden, Norway, South Korea, Denmark, Russia, and Japan can enjoy the visa exemption until Dec. 31st, 2022. The Vietnamese government has agreed on the extension in an attempt to strengthen the country’s tourism industry. Thus, the citizens mentioned above have until December 2022 to take advantage of the free visa. The visa waiver program grants them a stay of up to 15 days in the country.

The extension of the visa waiver program will help airlines, local travel agencies, and investors to establish long-term plans. Business groups are also calling for the Vietnam government to increase the number of days they are allowed to stay in the country. For them, 15 days are not enough to do business in the country. They are hoping to stay in the country for at least 30 days. This is especially true for Europeans who have to take a long haul flight to visit Vietnam.

Strictest Visa Policy

Vietnam is among the countries in Asia that has the most stringent visa policy. In the past, the country only offers free visas to only 24 countries and most of them are members of the ASEAN nations. This is just a small number compared to other Southeast Asian countries. For instance, Indonesia grants a free visa to 169 nationalities. Meanwhile, Singapore allows 158 nationalities to enter the country without a visa. Furthermore, Malaysia grants visa-free to 155 nationalities while Thailand allows 61 nationalities to enter the country visa-free.

During the first few months of this year, the number of international visitors to Vietnam is at 16.3 million. This is an increase of around 15% compared to last year. The country’s revenue on tourism is at VND649 trillion which is an increase of 16.3% from the previous year. As 2019 comes to an end, the Vietnam government is hoping to welcome around 18 million visitors into the country. With the extension of the visa waiver program, it’s likely that the number of foreign visits will continue to increase.

PERHAPS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN

Myanmar and Vietnam are two of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia these days. Both countries are rich in historical and cultural attractions.

Here’s good news to foreign travelers visiting Vietnam – the country has now extended its visa exemption program for citizens of 13 countries. These include Russia, Germany, Japan, and the UK.