Time at Vietnam (UTC+07:00) 04:34:25 PM, Sunday, 26 May 2024
US, India, Australia should be included in Vietnam visa exemption list

Citizens of a number of nations are hoping that Vietnam will follow other Southeast Asian nations in waiving their visa requirements. Michael Burger, an American, expressed his happiness at learning that more nations' citizens may be exempt from Vietnam's visa requirements : "I would certainly hope the U.S. will be included on this list as there are a lot of high spending visitors coming from the U.S. and, more importantly, more and more group tours and cruises". Many Southeast Asian countries like Thailand have already waived visas for American citizens and Vietnam should follow suit, he said : He visited HCMC last month for a week and plans another short visit at the end of March.

Pritesh Mehta of India also hoped his country would be on the list : "We're the fastest growing economy in the world and [Indians] have more spending power. Indians have recently been spending a lot on travel and leisure activities." Sixty two countries including Thailand and Malaysia do not require Indians to obtain visas. India is Vietnam's fastest growing tourism source market with the number of visitors last year from that country increasing by 231% from 2019, the year before Covid broke out. Besides, a number of rich Indian families have chosen Da Nang and Phu Quoc to organize lavish weddings.

Ken Rafter, from Australia, said he loves Vietnam and brings his family there every summer. He also expects the government to add Australia to the list of visa-free countries to make it easier to visit. According to the 2022 Statistical Yearbook of the General Statistics Office, Australian travelers spend an average of $1,416 per trip, making him one of Vietnam's top 10 spenders. Last year, Australia ranked among Vietnam's top 10 tourism markets.

Phil Johnson from Australia said if his country is included on the visa exemption list then more wealthy Australian tourists will come to Vietnam."Australians like to travel and spend money... At the moment a lot of Australians travel to Bali and Thailand, we need a new place to go to." Johnson said he has been to Vietnam eight times before, including the most recent trip last October when he stayed for 28 days in Hanoi.

Tourism analysts have also urged the government to consider waiving visas for tourists from some major markets like China, the U.S., Australia, India and those in Europe to fuel tourism growth. Vietnam allows nationals of 25 countries visa-free entry compared to 162 by Malaysia and Singapore, 157 by the Philippines, 68 by Japan, 66 by South Korea, and 64 by Thailand. It received 12.6 million international visitors last year, only around 70% of the pre-Covid number, while Malaysia and Thailand received over 28 million.

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