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E-visas piloted from Jan 1

Released at: 08:07, 06/11/2016

E-visas piloted from Jan 1

Photo: Duc Anh

Application, issuance, and payment availabe online from January 1 on a trial basis.

by Nhi Linh

A pilot project will be conducted from January 1 on issuing e-visas to international visitors, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

The entire process, from submitting applications to the issuance or refusal of a visa, will be conducted electronically, with payment available by bank transfer. The application criteria remains unchanged.

E-visas can be issued within three days and are valid for 30 days, which is suitable for tourists planning a long holiday. The government’s proposal to the National Assembly to issue e-visas is a breakthrough measure for the country’s tourism sector, according to VNAT.

Other policy improvements are still needed, however. Even with e-visas, Vietnam will still struggle to be competitive with other countries in the region. Indonesia offers visa exemptions to visitors from 169 countries, the Philippines 168, Malaysia 158, and Thailand 58.

Beyond issuing e-visas, Vietnam therefore needs to consider extending visa exemptions to visitors from more countries, especially those already attracting high numbers.

On November 4, VNAT also announced the introduction of a website promoting local tourism, at www.vietnamtourism.vn, which is the result of cooperation between VNAT and the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) on e-marketing for Vietnamese tourism on websites and social media.

In the two last months of this year, according to VNAT, growth in international and domestic arrivals is expected to be stable and total 9.7 million and 62 million, respectively, for the year as a whole.

International tourist arrivals in October reached 812,017, a decline of 0.1 per cent against September but up 23.2 per cent year-on-year, VNAT figures showed.

In the first ten months, international tourist arrivals stood at 8.077 million, a 25.4 per cent increase year-on-year, of which 6.777 million arrived by air, up 31.1 per cent year-on-year, 121,549 by sea, down 14.9 per cent, and 1,178,764 by land, up 4.6 per cent. Total revenue from tourism was VND331.5 trillion ($14.8 billion), an increase of 19.1 per cent year-on-year.

Most markets maintained solid growth compared to the same period last year, including Hong Kong, at 72.5 per cent, China 55.2 per cent, South Korea 40.1 per cent, New Zealand 35 per cent, Thailand 30.8 per cent, Italy 30.3 per cent, Spain 27.3 per cent, Russia 27.1 per cent, the Netherlands 24.2 per cent, Sweden 22.3 per cent, the UK 21.7 per cent, Germany 18.5 per cent, Laos 18 per cent, Taiwan 15.9 per cent, Malaysia 15.6 per cent, the US 14.2 per cent, France 13.3 per cent, and Japan 10.8 per cent.

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