Vietnam’s decision to extend visa validity and allow multiple entries has had a significant impact on the country’s tourism industry. The move has attracted a growing number of long-haul travelers from Europe and America who are now making plans to spend extended periods exploring Vietnam’s diverse attractions.
The relaxed visa policy, which came into effect on August 15, allows tourists to stay in Vietnam for up to 90 days, triple the previous limit. Additionally, visa-free periods for nationals of certain countries have been extended to 45 days. This change has been met with enthusiasm by travelers who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to experience Vietnam for a longer period of time.
The positive response to the new visa rules is reflected in the increasing number of accommodation searches by travelers from Western countries. According to data from leading online booking platform Agoda, there has been a 33% increase in searches for long vacations in Vietnam compared to just two weeks ago, when the visa rules were eased.
Travelers from countries such as France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, and the United States have shown particular interest in planning extended trips to Vietnam. The French recorded the highest increase in accommodation searches at 72%, followed by visitors from the Netherlands (45%), New Zealand (41%), Germany (40%), and the United States (38%).
This surge in interest is not surprising considering the attractiveness of Vietnam as a travel destination. The country offers a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and delicious cuisine. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the serene beaches of Da Nang and the historic charm of Hoi An, there is something to captivate every traveler.
The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam has also voiced its support for the visa policy changes and has urged the government to extend visa waivers to the remaining 20 countries in the EU. At present, only nationals of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland can enter Vietnam without a visa.
The increase in long-haul travelers planning extended stays in Vietnam is expected to contribute significantly to the country’s tourism recovery. In the first half of 2023, Vietnam received 5.5 million foreign tourists, accounting for 69% of the year’s target of eight million visitors. With the relaxed visa regulations attracting more travelers, Vietnam is well on its way to surpassing its tourism goals for the year.
The keys that impact Vietnam’s extended visa policies and the country’s tourism industry are:
- Diversifying Tourism Offerings: Vietnam is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. With the new visa rules attracting long-haul travelers, the country has an opportunity to showcase a wider range of attractions. From exploring the scenic mountains in Sapa to cruising the picturesque Halong Bay or indulging in the vibrant street food scene in Ho Chi Minh City, travelers can delve deeper into the country’s diverse offerings.
- Boosting Local Businesses: The increased influx of long-term visitors benefits various sectors of the economy. Local businesses, including hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, and tour operators, experience a surge in demand, creating more job opportunities and stimulating economic growth. This positive impact extends beyond popular tourist destinations, benefiting communities in lesser-known areas as well.
- Cultural Exchange and Community Engagement: Longer stays allow travelers to engage more deeply with local communities, fostering cultural exchange and understanding. Visitors have the chance to participate in community-based tourism initiatives, interact with locals, and gain insights into Vietnam’s traditions, customs, and way of life. This mutually enriching experience creates lasting memories and connections.
- Sustainable Tourism Practices: Extended stays encourage a more sustainable approach to travel. Travelers can take their time exploring different regions of Vietnam, reducing the need for frequent long-haul flights and minimizing their carbon footprint. Additionally, longer stays provide opportunities for travelers to support local conservation efforts, eco-friendly initiatives, and responsible tourism practices.
- Regional Exploration: Vietnam’s strategic location within Southeast Asia makes it an ideal base for exploring neighboring countries. With multiple-entry visas, travelers can easily venture out to countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, or Myanmar and then return to Vietnam to continue their journey. This opens up a range of possibilities for travelers seeking to explore the broader region.
- Government Support: The Vietnamese government’s proactive approach in extending visa validity and easing entry restrictions demonstrates its commitment to reviving the tourism industry. By responding to travelers’ needs and adapting to changing circumstances, Vietnam positions itself as an attractive destination, fostering confidence among tourists.
- Positive Image and Word of Mouth: The positive experiences of long-term visitors in Vietnam can lead to increased word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews. Travelers sharing their memorable experiences on social media platforms and travel forums contribute to the country’s positive image as a must-visit destination, attracting even more visitors in the future.
Overall, the extended visa policies in Vietnam have breathed new life into the tourism industry, attracting long-haul travelers eager to explore the country’s diverse offerings for an extended period. The benefits extend beyond the tourism sector, positively impacting the economy, local communities, and sustainable tourism practices. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, Vietnam is poised to position itself as a top choice for long-term travel experiences in Southeast Asia.