July 16, 2023

EuroCham Vietnam proposes full inclusion of EU member countries in Vietnam’s visitor visa exemption list

EuroCham Vietnam, the leading voice of the European business community in Vietnam, submitted a letter to Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, proposing the expansion of Vietnam’s visitor visa exemption list to encompass all 27 EU member countries.

 

Recognizing the recent efforts undertaken by the Vietnamese government to streamline its visa system, EuroCham Vietnam appreciates the extension of e-visa validity to a 90-day period, enabling multiple entries and exits starting from August 15. Furthermore, EuroCham Vietnam commends the Vietnamese authorities for extending the temporary residence period for citizens from countries exempted from visas by Vietnam to 45 days.

 

However, EuroCham Vietnam asserts that further measures are necessary to fully capitalize on the vast potential of the EU-Vietnam economic relationship and foster robust economic growth. Presently, the visitor visa exemption list includes only seven EU member countries, namely Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. With the aim of promoting enhanced trade and investment opportunities, EuroCham Vietnam has underlined the vital importance of expanding the visitor visa exemption list to encompass all 27 EU member countries.

 

“This expansion will bring in a large number of travelers from the EU market, which has a population of over 500 million. By removing barriers for high-income international travelers to visit Vietnam, we will undoubtedly unlock amazing opportunities for the country’s economy after a difficult few years,” said Gabor Fluit, Chairman of EuroCham Vietnam.

 

“It’s not only about the sheer number of visitors, but also the extended duration of their stay and their substantial purchasing power where European travelers truly stand out. European travelers tend to stay much longer, often for two weeks or more. This extended period allows them more of an opportunity to contribute to the economy, and perhaps even explore business prospects along the way. It’s all about creating room for travelers to create more value during their visit,” he added.

 

This initiative has garnered substantial support from Team Europe, with the appeal being co-signed by 18 ambassadors of European Union members to Vietnam, as well as the chairs of national European business associations, including the Belgian – Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Central and Eastern European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Portugal-Vietnam, the Dutch Business Association Vietnam, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam, the German Business Association, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.

 

The appeal, addressed to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, and Ministry of Public Security, highlights the considerable potential for positive impact on the Vietnamese economy resulting from an expanded visitor visa exemption list. It anticipates a significant increase in European travelers and a surge in business activities as a direct result. EuroCham Vietnam envisions that this will play a pivotal role in stimulating the economy, expanding trade opportunities, and increasing foreign direct investment inflows.

 

In addition, the latest Google Destination Insight report further validates the potential of Vietnam as a sought-after travel destination. Ranking among the top seven most searched travel destinations, Vietnam stands out as a preferred choice for global travelers. Notably, it was the only country from Southeast Asia to secure a position within the top 20. This surge in interest underscores the growing appeal and popularity of Vietnam as an international tourist destination.

 

Vietnam’s allure as a favored foreign direct investment destination also remains evident. The latest Business Confidence Index (BCI) published by EuroCham and conducted by Decision Lab sheds light on the country’s enduring appeal, despite prevailing challenges. Remarkably, nearly half of the respondents (48%) express optimism about an impending surge in their company’s FDI in Vietnam during the upcoming quarter. Moreover, Vietnam proudly retains its position among the top five investment destinations for more than one-third of businesses, further underscoring its steadfast attractiveness and reputation as a compelling investment opportunity. The ongoing tariff reductions facilitated by the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), combined with efforts to address procedural impediments highlighted by BCI respondents, are set to further enhance Vietnam’s investment prospects over time.

 

As EuroCham Vietnam’s proposal seeks to capitalize on these favorable circumstances, Chairman Gabor Fluit emphasized, “Visa exemption improvements, along with the Michelin list introduction and the recognition of the Vietnam North-South railway as the most incredible train journey by Lonely Planet, can truly be the answer to increasing the tourism contribution to Vietnam’s GDP. The combination of these initiatives, coupled with the growing global recognition and interest in Vietnam, holds immense potential for driving economic growth and positioning Vietnam as a leading destination in the global tourism landscape.”

 

Aligned with the overarching objective of bolstering Vietnam’s economy and cultivating a business environment that is conducive to growth, EuroCham Vietnam also remains dedicated to addressing work permit challenges and advocating for streamlined processes, recognizing the interconnectedness of these issues in promoting a favorable business environment in Vietnam.

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