Vietnam waives visa for tourists from 13 countries after 2-year closure

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, Mar 15 (EFE).- The Vietnamese government Tuesday said it would resume visa exemption for tourists from 13 countries after two years of shutting down its border due to the coronavirus.

The government gave the visa waiver to the citizens from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Belarus.

Tourists from these countries can enter Taiwan from Tuesday without applying for a visa if their stay does not exceed 15 days.

The visa waiver order will stay in effect until at least Mar.14, 2025, with a renewal to be reviewed by relevant authorities as per the Vietnamese law, the government said.

The measure was already in force for the countries before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the authorities to close their borders to international tourists in March 2020.

Since then, the government allowed only repatriated Vietnamese and foreign workers in Vietnam onboard special flights.

However, a few thousand tourists visited Vietnam in recent months as part of a pilot program to revive international tourism.

The government had announced the reopening of tourism a month ago for Mar.15.

But the details on the visa process were announced only on Tuesday. The delay had prevented travel companies from guaranteeing entry into the country.

The reopening of Vietnam was preceded by a few months of transition that allowed the controlled arrival of some 49,200 international travelers in the first two months of the year.

Since the Covid-19 forced Vietnam to close its borders in March 2020, the tourism sector has suffered massive losses even as the industry maintained its operation, except in the harshest weeks of the pandemic.

After receiving 18 million foreign tourists in 2019, Vietnam expects to welcome 5 million in 2022.

It is a relatively modest target but still difficult due to the pandemic and the crisis unleashed by the war in Ukraine.

The reopening comes as Vietnam has more Covid-19 infections than ever, with an average of 256,000 daily cases in the last week.

However, the high vaccination rate, with more than 90 percent of the target population fully inoculated has allowed the health system to resist the effects of the outbreak. EFE


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