IN a bid to boost tourist numbers, Vietnam has extended its e-visa application scheme for visitors from six more countries including major tourism markets Australia and India, raising the list of beneficiaries to 46.
After a successful launch of the two-year pilot program back in February, the government decided to extend the system to visitors from Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UAE.
Under the program, tourists will be able to apply online for 30-day, single-entry e-visas by paying a non-refundable application fee online.
According to VN Express, the government decided to make the move after data from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the General Statistics Office of Vietnam showed that a tourist from visa waiver countries such as France, Denmark and Norway spend more than US$1,000 and their vacations often last more than 15 days.
With the help of the new system, the tourism industry hopes to welcome 17-20 million foreign visitors and gain US$35 billion per year by 2020, contributing to 10 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, compared to the current 7.5 percent.
Visitors to Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year increased almost 28 percent from a year ago to more than 11.6 million, according to figures from the General Statistics Office.
The e-visa is accepted at 28 entry gates (eight international airports, 13 international border gates and seven seaports nationwide) in Vietnam, including the major hubs of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang, Can Tho City, and Phu Quoc Island.
The pilot scheme will be evaluated by the government and results reported to the National Assembly once completed in 2019.