PATA chairman celebrates as Vietnam 'waives' goodbye to visas
With Vietnam's visa waive coming into effect later this week, PATA UK & Ireland's chairman welcomed the news and explained the potential benefits for Brits.
"Long-stay visas and visa waivers can have significant benefits: boosting tourism, attracting foreign investment and stimulating economic growth.
"It is great news that the Vietnamese authorities have extended their visa offerings including visa free travel increasing 3-fold from 15 to 45 days and the e-visa duration increasing from 30 to 90 days. With increased airlift from the UK to Vietnam from October this is a very encouraging and positive step."
Not only will travellers benefit from bolstered airlift and waived visas; Chris made it clear that operator partners are looking forward to the change.
"Some of our tour operator members, selling Vietnam, have shared their excitement about the change. David Kevan, Director of CHIC Locations told me: 'The immediate advantage for everyone is that travellers are encouraged to stay longer. For us, as an operator, Vietnam is largely sold as a multi centre touring destination, especially for first time travellers to the country. They often combine at least four places so they can now do it at a more leisurely pace. It benefits operators and Vietnam’s economy alike.'"
"Thailand's move last year, increasing the visa free travel period from 30 to 45 days over peak season (1 October 2022 - 31 March 2023), was also a positive step that boosted tourism in the wake of the pandemic and welcomed long stay travellers for winter sun, especially during the cost of living crisis last winter. Thailand is a great value escape for retirees looking for better value living.
"Several other countries in the region that have extended visa free policies to attract more visitors, allowing tourists to stay longer than the standard 30 days, include Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Brunei, Kong Hong, Fiji, and Mauritius.
"More flexible visa options regionally boosts tourism by enhancing regional connectivity and benefits multiple economies.
"In other positive visa news in the region, Australia (since July 1st 2023) increased the maximum age for their Working Holiday Visa from 30 to 35 years old. This potentially means 16 million more Brits could live and work in Australia. Statistics recently shared by Tourism Australia revealed 45% of 25 to 34 year-olds wish they had taken a gap year when they had the chance which is a huge opportunity for Australia to increase arrivals.
"With the re-opening of the region and multiple countries offering visa free or extended stay options it further provides the opportunity for multi-centre itineraries and long-stay travellers.
"Long stay travellers spend more in local communities and delve deeper into destinations, travelling off the beaten path, so youth travellers, backpackers, retirees, digital nomads and those on sabbatical leave are all high quality markets the region should be attracting."