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Visa Waiver Extension: Eyed as Tourism Attraction Solution

Amidst tension in the East Sea, the tourism sector has decided to extend visa waiver for foreign tourists as a solution to entice more visitors, or at the least prevent them from being scared off from coming to the country.

As in any form of political disturbance, when the tension in the East Sea first broke out in May, many, if not all, of the sectors of the country were badly affected, including tourism. The negative scenario could even last for months, creating a very bad impact on the tourism sector. Figures showed that 15,000 booked hotel accommodations for the month of July alone were cancelled, causing a $1.8 million loss. Even some reservations for September were cancelled. Golf courses reported losses due to decreased number of players while travel agents experienced a 20%-30% drop in clients. This even excludes unreported losses and other negative impact caused by the tension, creating an alarming picture for the whole industry.

Tourists from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia have noticeably lessened in number ever since the tension in East Asia began. The only good thing perhaps is that Russian tourists have continued to patronize visiting Vietnam despite the current situation. This is worrisome considering there was a 27% increase in the number of foreign tourists entering Vietnam in the first four months of 2014 before the riots broke out in Binh Duong and Dong Nai Province and the Vung Ang Indistrial Zone. There was also a 47% or 804,000 rise in the number of Chinese and Hong Kong travelers who visited the country at that time. The beaches and islands of Vietnam are something that tourists simply couldn’t resist because of their naturally breathtaking beauty.


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The visa waiver is applicable to citizens from the United States, Canada, Australia, EU, Hongkong and Taiwan and are intending to stay in the country up to 30 days. Aside from this, the government and other Vietnamese agencies also need to establish a more efficient system of granting visas at the border gates. This way, travellers with legitimate passports will be eligible for the visa waiver and be allowed to stay in the country for at least 14 days without the need for additional documents. It is hoped that such a plan will effectively attract more tourists, especially foreign, into visiting Vietnam and improve its tourism environment despite the ongoing East Sea tension.

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