The trade has welcomed news that UK visitors to Vietnam will be able to stay in the country for 45 days without a visa, saying it will allow for more immersive trips and boost bookings to the destination.
A new visa policy was approved by the Vietnamese government on June 24 to allow three-month multiple entry visas from August 15, 2023, for UK passport holders.
Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Danish, Japanese and South Korean passport holders will also be exempt for 45 days under the change.
Previously, visitors from these countries could only stay visa-free for 15 days.
The Vietnamese authorities have also increased the duration of travel allowed under its e-visas from 30 to 90 days, allowing Brits to travel beyond the 45 visa waiver period.
InsideAsia was one of the first tour operators to welcome the news.
Charlotte Bower, senior southeast Asia product executive, said the move was good news for clients wanting a longer, more immersive trips.
“We are wholly welcoming of the move which will allow our customers longer, more meaningful cultural adventures to this beautiful country,” she said, adding: “A longer trip will allow people to get deeper into what makes Vietnam so good.
“Although we tailor trips to suit time frames, the visa waiver extension will allow for a better quality of cultural adventure to get deep into rural Vietnam, life on the Mekong, experience the cities and some time on the beach too.”
The operator’s new UK trade manager added that the news would make travel to Vietnam easier and “more fulfilling” for agents and their clients.
Luxury travel consultant Harry Wales, of Travelosphers By Harry Wales, said the extension would benefit his business. Vietnam is one of his agency’s top selling destinations.
“This is fantastic news for both UK citizens and the travel industry as a whole,” he said, adding: “This now allows my clients to design more comprehensive and immersive travel packages. My clients now have the opportunity to explore Vietnam’s rich culture, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities at a more relaxed pace.”
Experience Travel Group managing director Sam Clark predicted sales growth to Vietnam as a result of the policy change.
“Removing barriers to travel is the most effective way of boosting demand to any country,” he said, adding: “There is so much to see and experience in Vietnam – many of our customers stay 3 weeks or even more exploring all that Vietnam has to offer.”
Wendy Wu head of trade sales Gary King also applauded the move as sales for Vietnam continued to rise. The operator has increased the number of departures for river cruises in Vietnam by almost 30% for 2024 compared to last year.
He said: “This is fantastic news for travellers and comes at a time when holidays to Vietnam are booming. Being able to offer longer stays to Vietnam is such positive news for the industry, and a clever move by the Vietnamese government to attract more tourism.”
Hazel McGuire, Intrepid Travel’s UK & Ireland general manager, said the operator was also already seeing increased interest in Vietnam.
“This extension will encourage travellers to stay longer in Vietnam, explore new destinations off the tourist trail, and really immerse themselves in the country. Vietnam has so much to offer away from its popular spots too – like a homestay in a local village in Da Bac where you can get a firsthand look at local life,” she said.