In a move to boost tourism recovery, Vietnam is contemplating visa-free entry for Indian travelers, following similar measures adopted by Sri Lanka and Thailand. The proposal was put forward by Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung during a conference chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
As of now, only nationals from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland enjoy visa-free access to Vietnam. However, the minister’s suggestion aims to expand this privilege to major markets like China and India, as well as visitors from affluent nations such as Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the EU member states.
Vietnam has been actively working to attract foreign visitors, aligning with the trend of Southeast Asian countries adopting friendly visa policies. Currently, the country waives visas for nationals of 25 countries.
In the first ten months of this year, Vietnam witnessed a remarkable surge in tourism, hosting nearly 10 million visitors. This figure represents a substantial increase of 4.6 times compared to the same period last year, surpassing the target set for the end of 2023.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam welcomed approximately 170,000 Indian visitors and some 137,000 in 2022. Favorite spots like Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Ha Long Bay, and Hoi An attract many Indian tourists.
Recent developments in the region have seen Thailand and Sri Lanka announcing visa waivers for Indian travelers. Thailand, as of November 10, eliminated visa requirements for Indian tourists, allowing a 30-day stay until May 10 of the following year. Sri Lanka, in October, initiated a trial program granting visa-free entry for visitors from seven countries, including India, China, and Russia, active until March 31, 2024.
A report by Booking.com in collaboration with McKinsey & Company sheds light on evolving preferences among Indian travelers. Seeking authentic and immersive experiences, these travelers are drawn to destinations that don’t involve navigating complex visa applications. The report attributes this shift to India’s strong economy, a growing middle class, and a youthful population.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Vietnam has welcomed 8.9 million international visitors in the first nine months of the year, surpassing the annual target. The September figures, recording over 1 million foreign arrivals for the third consecutive month, highlight the country’s resilience in the face of global uncertainties.
South Korea has been the leading source of tourist arrivals, contributing over 2.5 million visitors in the first nine months, followed by China with 1.1 million arrivals.
As Vietnam explores visa-free options for Indians, the tourism sector remains a key player in the country’s economic recovery, reflecting positive trends in international travel.