Vietnam to extend visa exemption for Western Europe tourists hinh anh 1Foreign tourists in Nha Trang (Source: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam will extend its visa exemption policy for Western Europe tourists, which will expire on July 1, said the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) at a press conference in Hanoi on April 12.

Nguyen Van Tuan, head of the VNAT, said the administration has been reviewing the policy, which is applied for tourists from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and will propose extending it.

It is also finalising dossiers on visa exemption for tourists from another 13 countries who visit Vietnam via travel companies, he said.

According to the agency, after nine months since the visa exemption policy took effect, tourism figures from these five countries have all increased quarter after quarter.

In the first quarter of this year alone, the number of tourists from the countries increased by an average of 20 percent, with the highest growth seen in the number of Italian visitors (28 percent).

Tourists from these countries, with high spending, have considerably contributed to raising the total tourism revenue growth since the beginning of this year, Tuan said.

Russian tourist arrivals also went up 13.5 percent in the first three months and are expected to rise higher in the upcoming summer months.

Vietnam is Russia’s fourth most popular destination. The central province of Khanh Hoa is the most popular destination for Russian visitors, followed by Mui Ne beach in the central province of Binh Thuan and Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang.

The first quarter this year also saw a 66-percent surge in the number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam, who mainly visit Da Nang, Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa) and Phu Quoc.

Vietnam welcomed 2.45 million international tourists in the first three months, up 19.9 percent against the same period last year, while local tourists numbered 18.7 million. Revenues from tourism rose by 21.2 percent year-on-year.

The upcoming Vietnam International Travel Mart 2016, scheduled for April 14-17 in Hanoi, is expected to offer chances for the country to lure more visitors. The event, themed “Vietnam – The paradise of sea and island tourism”, will feature over 500 stalls, including 115 hosted by businesses from 25 countries and territories.-VNA