VISA EXEMPTION FOR EUROPEAN VISITORS / NDO/VNA – Tourists from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy will enjoy visa exemptions for the next three years until June 30, 2021 when traveling to Vietnam. The country first offered visa waivers for citizens from the five European countries in July 2015. The policy has been updated annually and would have expired at the end of June. The continued visa exemption is expected to push up the development of the Vietnamese tourism sector. The number of tourists from these countries to Vietnam soared in recent years, from 720,000 in 2015 to 855,000 in 2016, and 1.5 million in 2017. Vietnam is among countries with the strictest visa policy in Asia. The country currently offers visa waivers to visitors from 24 countries and territories, including the ASEAN member countries. The country has tried to improve the situation with an e-visa policy which is now available to people from 46 countries. The government is also considering a proposal from the Vietnam Tourism Association on the extension of the period of stay from 15 to 30 days and expansion of visa exemptions for more countries. In the first five months of this year, foreign arrivals to Vietnam reached 6.7 million, up 27.6% annually, according to the General Statistics Office. The number of European visitors rose by 11.8% year-on-year, including those from France (13.1%), the UK (9.6%), Germany (8.5%), and Italy (18.3%).

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