Viet Nam is considering the possibility of introducing a visa-free policy for Indian tourists as part of its efforts to boost its tourism sector. Viet Nam's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyn Van Jung, is pushing for short-term visa exemptions for key markets, including China and India. The move is expected to provide a positive boost to the recovery of Viet Nam's tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For now, residents of several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, and Finland, can visit Viet Nam without a visa. This latest move to include Indian travelers in the policy reflects Viet Nam's awareness of the significant growth of India's market share in the global tourism arena.
In an effort to facilitate the entry of tourists, Viet Nam has introduced e-visas for individuals from all countries from August this year. These e-visas are valid for 90 days and allow multiple entries, simplifying the visa application process for international visitors.
According to Viet Nam's tourism growth statistics for the first ten months of 2023, there was a significant increase with the number of international visitors reaching around 10 million, a 4.6-fold increase compared to the same period in 2022. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Viet Nam had welcomed around 170,000 Indian visitors, indicating further growth potential in this market.
If Viet Nam goes ahead with its plan to grant visa-free entry to Indian citizens, it will become the third country to do so, following similar policies already implemented by Sri Lanka and Thailand. Earlier, Thailand announced a six-month visa waiver for tourists from India and Taiwan from November 10, 2023 to May 10, 2024. This decision was taken by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavision with the aim of catering to the preferences of Indian and Taiwanese tourists.
Sri Lanka has also previously adopted a visa-free policy for travelers from seven countries, including India, China, Japan, Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia. This policy will be in effect until March 31, 2024, with the aim of increasing the number of tourist visits to Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Tourism has also set a target of attracting five million tourists in the coming years.
The decision being considered by Viet Nam to implement a visa-free policy for Indian tourists is in line with the general trend of countries seeking to stimulate growth in the tourism sector by easing entry procedures.