According to Martin Koerner, head of the tourism working group at the Vietnam Business Forum, Vietnam should take into consideration eliminating visa requirements for all people of the European Union in order to grow the travel sector and further solidify ties with the union.
According to him, taking this action will draw more tourists from the EU market, which has a population of more than 500 million people and a high demand for travel with a high spending capacity.
According to experts in Vietnam, the exemption of tourist visas for citizens of the EU countries would help Vietnamese tourism compete with neighbouring countries such as Singapore and Thailand.
In addition, last week, the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam called on Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to abolish visas for the remaining 20 countries in the bloc.
At present, only nationals of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, as well as Finland are eligible to enter Vietnam without visas.
Koerner considered that permitting EU nationals to enter visa-free in Vietnam would further enhance the competitiveness with other Southeast Asian states that already offer visa-free access for EU travellers, such as Singapore and Thailand.
He also went on to say that such a decision would help to foster trade investment opportunities as well as exchange between Vietnam and the EU countries, particularly after the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
Besides, Koerner said that granting visa-free entry for citizens from European countries would enhance bilateral relations as well as cooperation between Vietnam as well as the EU countries in several sectors, including education, investment, trade, culture and security, among others.
He added that its letter had garnered substantial support from Team Europe, with the letter being signed by a total of 18 ambassadors of EU Member States to Vietnam, as well as chairs of national European business associations.
According to the member of EuroCham’s tourism committee, Nuno Ribeiro granting visa-free entry for nationals would further help attract visitors from other countries with higher discretionary income and, therefore, more spending power, which will further contribute to the economy of Vietnam.
Ribeiro, who serves as Deputy Senior Program Manager in Tourism and Hospitality at RMIT Vietnam, noted that in addition to visa relaxation, authorities in Vietnam should invest in infrastructure, including roads, airports as well as public transportation, among others.
He said that in addition to visa relaxation, Vietnam should invest in infrastructure such as airports, roads, and public transportation to facilitate luxury tourism.
“Vietnam could focus on developing luxury tourism by building high-end resorts, spas, and other luxury accommodations that cater to the needs of high-spending tourists,” he said.
According to local media reports, in the first half of this year, authorities in Vietnam opened their doors to a total of 5.5 million passengers.