Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have urged the Vietnamese government to extend the validity of its free visas from 15 to 30 days.
The Vietnam News Service (VNS) reports that HCMC’s Department of Tourism has proposed the extension, which would apply to visitors from nine mainly European countries, to help it achieve its target of welcoming more than 10 million international visitors by 2020. If achieved, this would mark a sharp increase compared to the 5.2 million travellers who visited HCMC in 2016.
The countries currently offered 15 days of visa-free travel to Vietnam are South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK, and Vietnam has experienced strong growth in arrivals from these countries the last two years.
Arrivals from South Korea surged 44% in the first half of 2017, while visitor numbers from Russia jumped 53%. Double-digit growth was also seen from Spain (+29%), Sweden (+22%), Germany (+19%), Denmark (+13%) and the UK (+13%).
Earlier, the city’s tourism authorities urged the central government to extend the visa waiver programme to tourists from several other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Brazil, India and Ukraine.