The Hanoitimes - The number of Italian visitors to Vietnam in 2017 was estimated at 58,000, up 13.2% year-on-year.
A tourism promotion event with theme “A Soulful Vietnam”, organized by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) in coordination with partners, officially opened in Milan city, Italy on October 3.
The event was part of a program organized by VNAT to promote Vietnam's tourism in Western Europe. Accordingly, the event introduced Vietnam’s tourist products and supportive policies. Popular destinations, including Ha Long Bay, Hue imperial citadel, Hoi An ancient town and Phong Nha – Ke Bang cave system were presented alongside Vietnam’s culture and cuisine.
Foreign visitors to Vietnam. Photo: vtv.vn
In 2017, Vietnam welcomed more than 13 million European visitors, accounting for 15% of total foreign visitors to the nation. The figure for Italian tourists was 58,000, up 13.2% year on year, according to Deputy General Director of VNAT Ha Van Sieu.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien said effective tourism development benefits companies, people and the economy of a country. He pledged the embassy would provide support to enhance Vietnam – Italy tourism cooperation.
Earlier, the Vietnamese government agreed to extension of visa waiver for a three-year period for the citizens of five Western European countries namely the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Accordingly, citizens from the five aforementioned countries will continue to enjoy visa exemptions to enter Vietnam up to 2020 after the previous visa-free policy expired in June this year.
The open-door visa policy aligned with enhanced tourism promotion has contributed to maintaining Vietnam's growth rate of foreign visitors at nearly 30% annually, according to Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung.
The government will consider proposals made by the Vietnam Tourism Association concerning the extension of the period of stay in Vietnam from 15 to 30 days and the expansion of visa exemption for more countries, among others, he tipped.