Visa extension offers precious chances for tourism development in HCMC

HCMC has recently introduced several exciting tourism products to attract foreign visitors when the visa extension policy comes into effect as of August 15, 2023.
An international tourist group coming to HCMC on August 15 (Photo: SGGP)

An international tourist group coming to HCMC on August 15 (Photo: SGGP)

Yesterday afternoon, the HCMC Department of Tourism held a press conference for the upcoming event International Travel Expo 2023 (ITE HCMC 2023) this September. This is an important event to promote the image of a charming Vietnam and its friendly people to the international community. ITE HCMC 2023 is expected to welcome the participation of 400 units and brand names, including 30 foreign ones.

Before this, HCMC successfully organized its first River Festival, attracting tens of thousands of domestic and overseas visitors. The event is considered an impressive tourism products to boost the growth of this sector.

Following that success, to better exploit the advantage of the river network in the city, HCMC People’s Committee announced a plan for waterway tourism development in the city in the 2023-2025 period, aiming at earning hundreds of billions of VND a year. Another goal is for all major city river routes (Nha Be, Soai Rap, Long Tau) to have their own tourism products by 2025. These routes will be linked to current seaports as well as the waterways in the provinces of Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tien Giang, Long An, and Ben Tre.

To fulfill those targets, the total number of water transport means to serve tourists will have been increased to 200 motorboats, 100 ships and yachts by 2025. Meanwhile, the focus of water tourism in the 2023-2024 period is to improve the quality of current tourism products.

International tourists arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on August 15 (Photo: SGGP)

International tourists arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport on August 15 (Photo: SGGP)

On August 14, 2023, the Government issued two visa-related resolutions. The quantity of international border gates for foreigners to enter and exit Vietnam with an electronic visa increases to 13 airports, 16 land border gates, and 13 sea border gates. The validity of an e-visa is extended from 30 days to 90 days, with multiple entry and the temporary stay time for people entering the country under the visa exemption is prolonged from 15 to 45 days.

Welcoming the visa extension policy, tourism businesses are eager and excited for a potential bloom. General Director of Vietluxtour Tran The Dung commented that formerly, most holidaymakers opt for a tour of fewer than 15 days to enjoy the visa-free offer. Thanks to this policy, his company is confident to market longer tours of over 15 days and earn more profit.

Director of Communications – Marketing Nguyen Minh Man of TSTtourist stated that this visa extension offers a great chance for Vietnamese tourism enterprises to serve holidaymakers from the markets of Southeast Asia, the US, Europe via trade and tourism promotion programs.

Statistics from the HCMC Department of Tourism reveal that in the first 7 months of this year, HCMC welcomed 2.36 million international tourists, a rise of 208 percent compared to this time last year and accounting for 47.2 percent of the 2023 target. The total tourism revenues of the city reached VND93.6 trillion (US$3.9 billion), an increase of 55 percent compared to this time in 2022 and occupying 58 percent of the 2023 target.

Deputy Director Le Truong Hien Hoa of the HCMC Department of Tourism admitted that despite the introduction of new policies which provide favorable conditions to attract foreign tourists, Vietnam needs more synchronous solutions for its tourism sector to be appealing.

Therefore, at present, HCMC is developing hybrid tour packages between the land and water routes as well as luxurious tour packages aiming at serving tourists with high affordability that wish for longer stays. Along with that is more professional tourism promotion schemes to introduce Vietnam to the global community so that Vietnam can enter the list of Top-30 nations with the highest tourism competitiveness.

Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Trung Khanh shared that the visa extension policy is merely a necessary condition to boost the national tourism. The sufficient condition should be more synchronous measures nationwide to take good advantage of this policy.

Localities should concentrate on building suitable tourism infrastructure and developing corresponding services, products to encourage the spending of foreign tourists when they stay in Vietnam longer. More professional schemes via multiple direct and indirect channels are needed to promote the Vietnamese tourism to the international community. In addition, better training is necessary to have capable tourism human resources, while social security and safety must be ensured to make tourists feel at ease during their trips.

Director Bui Quoc Thai of the Kien Giang Province Department of Tourism stressed that to achieve breakthroughs, the tourism sector must renovate itself. Phu Quoc City has been recently chosen as a location to apply the night tourism model with unique products in compliance with the project ‘Developing Night Economy in Vietnam’ by the Government.

Besides the night market in Duong Dong Ward, the sleepless city of Phu Quoc United Center is an entertainment complex offering various attractive activities at night such as dining service, shopping, cultural performances. In the South of the island is the ‘Mediterranean Town’ with several European-feature buildings and night shows.

General Director of Furama Resort in Da Nang City informed that the visa extension to 90 days has resulted in a market share expansion for the tourism industry in Da Nang City, coming from tourists staying at resorts for longer time, people wishing to visit their relatives in the city, and those in crossing-Vietnam tours. The policy to increase the visa exemption time from 15 to 30 days appears at the right time to encourage people stay in Vietnam longer, thereby spending more money on local products.

Director of the Thua Thien-Hue Province Department of Tourism Nguyen Van Phuc said that to take good advantage of this visa extension policy, the province is developing such integrated products as tourism and healthcare, food discovery and spiritual tourism to complement its current heritage tour packages. It hopes to create a chain of tourism products and services to keep holidaymakers staying longer and even encouraging them to come back in the future.

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