Foreign tourists enjoy a cyclo tour in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
 
HCM City (VNA) - The HCM City Tourism Association has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on further extension of visa exemption for tourists coming from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The visa waiver programme for the five European countries will expire at the end of June.

It remains unclear if the Government will extend the visa waiver, causing uncertainty to the tourism industry and making it difficult for tourism agencies to develop marketing plans for these markets, the association said.

The visa waiver for tourists, which began in mid-2015, has helped increase the number of foreign visitor arrivals.

The association has asked the government to approve exemptions for five years instead of making renewal every year, and to increase the maximum stay to 30 days from the current 15.

The association chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Khanh, also asked the government to exempt visas from other countries, including from key markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Austria, Netherlands, and Belgium.

Arrivals from these markets have risen sharply, with many people taking a long vacation and spending a lot, Khanh said.

Visa waivers for citizens from the five Western European countries reportedly increased arrivals from these markets by 10.1 percent, according to the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board.

In the first three months of the year, the number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam surged by 30.9 percent compared to the same period last year to reach 4.2 million, according to the General Statistics Office.

Over the period, HCM City welcomed nearly 2 million foreign tourists, accounting for half of the total number of foreign tourists visiting Vietnam.-VNA