Visa waivers are used by many countries to attract tourists, but Vietnam has chosen to pursue a strict visa policy.
|Vietnam received 13 million foreign travelers in 2017|
Reports show that complicated procedures and high visa fees are the major reasons behind the loss of billions of dollars in revenue in many countries.
A report from the EU Parliament says the harsh visa policy may cause the loss of 250,000 jobs and 12.6 billion euros ($13.8 billion) to the EU economy.
A British tourism expert estimates that because of difficulties in obtaining visas, $200 million worth of revenue from foreign travelers may fall into the hands of countries which apply loose visa policies, such as Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.
Vietnam is failing to attract travelers from many markets because of security reasons and fear of loss of revenue from visa fees.
The fee to obtain a visa to Vietnam is at least $25. With 13 million foreign travelers to Vietnam in 2017, including travelers from ASEAN countries which enjoy visa waivers, the amount of visa fees is not that high.
Ngo Minh Duc, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, commented that by continuing the harsh visa policy, Vietnam is trying to collect ‘tiny shrimp’, but is skipping the ‘big shrimp’, because revenue from the visa fee is lower than that from travelers It could attract.
|Foreign travelers bring benefits to Vietnam economy and to travel firms, hotels, restaurants, transport industry, and vendors. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), revenue from travelers in 2017 reached VND510 trillion.|
Foreign travelers bring benefits to Vietnam economy and to travel firms, hotels, restaurants, transport industry, and vendors. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), revenue from travelers in 2017 reached VND510 trillion.
“It is a blunder to set barriers just to glean small coins from the visa fee and waste natural resources and heavy investment in infrastructure,” Duc said.
Nguyen Quoc Ky, chair of Vietravel, commented that there are conflicts of interests and varying views of involved groups on tourism development.
“We don’t collect admission fees from travelers, but we are able to earn money from them after their entrance,” Ky said. “If travelers don’t come because it is inconvenient, our beautiful landscapes cannot be seen and our good services will be in vain.”
According to Luong Hoai Nam, a member of the Tourism Advisory Board, the tight visa policy is due partly to national security. However, he stressed that the visa waivers would not be an obstacle to activities to ensure national security.
When Vietnam waives visas for travelers from some countries, this doesn’t mean that all citizens from the countries can enter Vietnam, he said.
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