The Tourism Advisory Board has proposed that the government consider offering 30-day unilateral visa exemptions for golf tourists and those traveling by private jet.
In comments on a draft amendment to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam, the board (TAB) encouraged the government to waive visas for up to a month for those entering Vietnam to attend sports tournaments, conferences and tourism fairs, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
TAB also backed a clause in the draft amendment extending the validity of e-visas from 30 days to a maximum of three months. The stipulation would also allow for multiple-entry e-visas, in order to attract international tourists.
The board has also stated that it wants to triple to 45 days the duration of visa-free stays for tourists from certain countries who now enjoy a 15-day waiver.
“Applying for a visa at international border gates prompts additional visa fees and causes trouble for international tourists, especially solo travelers,” said a TAB statement.
TAB also suggested the government grant five-year visas to foreign individuals who buy residential real estate in Vietnam, and two-year visas for foreigners working remotely in Vietnam.
Despite being one of the first Southeast Asian countries to fully reopen to international tourism post-lockdown, Vietnam received only 3.6 million foreign tourists last year, far fewer than neighbors like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
TAB general secretary Hoang Nhan Chinh said that many actions need to be taken, including the better facilitation of entry and exit procedures, to make Vietnam a more popular destination for international tourists.
Last week, the government said Vietnam would consider unilaterally offering visa-free stays to citizens from more countries in order to give the tourism industry a boost.
Vietnam now allows visa waivers for 25 countries, while Malaysia and Singapore allow 162 countries, the Philippines 157 countries, and Thailand 65 countries.
The lower number of countries eligible for Vietnam’s visa-waiver policies makes Vietnamese tourism less competitive than other countries in the region, according to tourism industry insiders.
The fifth gathering of the 15th National Assembly began on Monday.
On Saturday, lawmakers are set to discuss adjustments to immigration laws to make it easier for foreigners to enter Vietnam. Discussions about improving visa issuance procedures, as well as extending visa durations, are expected.