Travel firms that target the US market are concerned about changes in visa fees applied to travelers from the US.
Visa fee hike could cause drop in number of US tourists
Phan Xuan Anh, chair of Viet Excursions, a travel firm, on September 5, 2016 told the press that travel firms still had not received official notice from the management agency on the new visa fee applied to travelers from the US.
The new visa fee of $135 raised from $25 has been applied since August 29, 2016 by the Finance Ministry.
An official said this was the visa fee for multiple entry for one year under the cooperation agreement signed between the Vietnamese and US governments.
Under the agreement, the US government grants one-year multiple entry visas for Vietnamese citizens, and the Vietnamese government grants the same to US citizens.
Since August 29, 2016 US citizens, no matter for what purpose they come to Vietnam, have seen their visa validity extended automatically to one year and the visa fee raised to $135 for multiple entries.
In the past, US travelers with single entry visas had to pay $25. Those who came on cruise ships had to pay $5.
Anh said that he learned about the fee when processing forms for travelers.
“We are worried stiff because of the big change. Since there has been no official document about the new fee, we cannot send information about the fee increase to partners in the US,” he said, adding that the partners may not accept a higher fee.
“The US travelers who come on cruises would be charged $5. But if they return to the US by air, they have to pay $135,” he said.
Le Phong Tran, a senior executive of Fiditour, said the increase would cause difficulties for travel firms because they signed contracts with partners for the previous fee many months ago.
Tran Thi Viet Huong from Vietravel said the new policy would benefit the US business people who enter Vietnam regularly, but would not be good for tourists who don’t intend to come to Vietnam more than once within one year.
Tran also said the majority of travelers only come and stay for a short time and do not want to pay the extra money.
He warned that the new policy would make it difficult for travel firms to attract US travelers.