Don’t expect Vietnam visa regulations to ease up anytime soon. While the country does grant exemptions to eight members of the Association of Southeast Asian (Asean) countries, Japan, Korea, four Scandinavian countries and as of last year, Russia, the rest of the world’s nationals will still have to troop to their local Vietnamese embassies to be processed.
“Of course, we want more visitors to come to Vietnam,” Dinh Ngoc Duc, deputy director, international cooperation department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told Business Traveller during the ongoing Asean Tourism Forum in Hanoi, “but visas are the responsibility of the immigration department which has to consider issues like security. However, we are always pushing them to find ways to facilitate entry applications.”
Apart from being identified with the countries enjoying the visa waiver, travellers, wanting to come to Vietnam, can also apply for the Apec Business Travel Card (ABTC) programme. There is also Phu Quoc, the country’s largest island and a tourism destination, which has no visa restrictions, although travel to the mainland will be curtailed without the necessary documents.
In 2008, Vietnam welcomed 4.2 million tourists, a figure it hope to bring to 5 million this year and 6 million in 2010.
Margie T Logarta
For more details, visit www.vietnamtourism.gov.vn.