No visa fee proposed for int’l travelers
The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) has proposed the Government exempt all international visitors to Vietnam from the visa fee from July and December this year to rein in the continued fall in foreign arrivals.
Vu The Binh, vice chairman of VITA, said if the visa fee of US$45 per person was removed, local tour operators would be able to woo more international travelers as tourists could save not only the visa fee but also other service charges when applying for visa.
According to VITA, apart from the complicated visa procedures and unattractive tourism products, the fall of the euro, yen and Australian dollar against the U.S. dollar has sent Vietnam tour prices up. This is one of the reasons behind the drop in international arrivals in Vietnam since mid-2014.
The local currency has been devalued by only 2% against the U.S. dollar in the year to date while other foreign currencies have weakened sharply versus the greenback.
Besides the visa fee exemption, VITA suggests the Government approve value added tax (VAT) breaks and delay corporate income tax payments for travel enterprises and hotels for six months or one year so that they can have money for promotion programs to attract foreign visitors.
“Similar programs were launched in 2009 when international arrivals declined and they helped increase the number of foreign visitors to the country by 36%. The current situation is the same, so measures should be taken to assist firms to cut prices and woo foreign customers,” Binh said.
These are urgent measures in the short term and VITA proposes the Government offer unilateral visa exemptions for tourists from Vietnam’s four major visitor-generating markets including Britain, France, Germany and Australia.