The Vietnam National Tourism Administration said it will seek approval from the government to have foreign visitors exempted from visa fees later this year to boost the country’s tourism. The fee exemption scheme is expected to begin when the administration launches a two-month sales promotion for tourists in August or in September.
The government last year agreed to exempt visa fees for tourists who booked tours under the 2009 national campaign “Impressive Vietnam.” Visa fees for tourist entry into Vietnam are now US$25. Tourists can be charged higher by travel agencies. Ung Phuong Dung, director of Indochina Service Vietnam, said last year her company had around 200 tourists eligible for visa fee exemption every month, but most of them had not known about the benefit beforehand. Such a program needed to be promoted better to foreign visitors, she said. Foreign arrivals in February rose 30.2 percent from a year ago to around 446,000. The country expects to receive 4.5-4.6 million foreign tourists this year, up 18-21 percent from 2009.