One of the factors that has helped the growth of tourism industry in Japan and Korea in recent years is the ever-expanding visa policy.
Open the door as much as possible to attract visitors
Abenomics is one of the most successful results of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic recovery policy for the growth of the Japanese tourism industry.
Decisions to take efforts for simplify visas have been made in the first week, when Mr Abe started acting as prime minister at the end of 2012, which is considered the main factor leading to his arrest accused for breaking the tourism industry of this country.
Reducing visa requirements for Chinese tourists and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has paved the way for the Japanese wave of tourism, which is an attractive destination for the middle-class people in Asia.
Thanks to that policy, the number of tourists to “cherry blossom country” has increased nearly four times, from the average monthly of 697,000 (2012) to more than 2.8 million visitors in recent times.
Visitors to the country in 2017 increased 19% to 28.69 million visitors, spending up to 4,000 billion yen (35.9 billion USD) against the 3,740 billion yen as compared to 2016, reaching a record high and the highest growth rate among Asian countries. Japan is transforming itself to become Asia’s leading travel destination.
The Chief Representative of the Korea Tourism Administration, Jung Chang Wook said: “Most visitors in developed countries who come to Korea for short periods of time do not need a visa. The Southeast Asian countries which are exempted from visas on shorter Korean travels are Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.”
Vietnamese visitors will also be exempted from visa application procedures when entering to Korea during the Winter Olympics from January 22, 2015 to April 30, 2018 via Yangyang Airport.
Before that, starting in July 2017, Korea has implemented many solutions to loosen visa policy for Vietnamese tourists. Specifically, from July to 2017, the South Korean implementation of exemption procedures reduced financial proof for many objects of Vietnamese citizens to this country.
At the same time, Korea’s diplomatic offices in Vietnam have signed with 35 tourism companies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. HCM to simplify visa procedures for Vietnamese tourists to Korea.
Vietnamese travellers travel to Japan, Korea
Korea is now one of the most popular “outbound” destination. Apart from the elements of products, services and attractive prices, visa policy is one of the most important reason for the improvement.
In 2017, the number of Vietnamese visitors to Korea reached at 320,000, the highest ever and still growing at 29%, equivalent to the growth rate considered as the highlight of Vietnam’s tourism in the year 2017.
“In the past, we have been concerned about the fact that many Vietnamese tourists come to Korea and do not return to Vietnam on the right track. For that South Korea has repeatedly implemented visa liberalization policies for Vietnamese tourists, “said Jung Chang Wook.
Although no visa-free policy has been applied to Vietnamese tourists, the Japanese government has a flexible solution to minimize the “anxiety” of visa procedures to attract Vietnamese visitors.
Starting from December 2016, there are about 30 Vietnamese travel companies entrusted by the Embassy and Consulate General of Japan in Vietnam. Guests wishing to purchase a Japanese tour can apply to 30 of these travel companies.
The biggest change here is that each person instead of visiting the embassy or consulate to apply for a visa, they only have to book the tour. In particular, not only tourists, those who have other purposes such as business trips or study abroad can apply for a visa through these travel companies.
According to the Chief Representative of the Japan Tourism Promotion Agency, Takahashi Ayumi “Delegated travel agents will act as agents on behalf of the Embassy to receive visa applications from customers. The travel companies themselves will also be “more favorable” when the documents needed to obtain visa for visitors will be less complicated and simple. This is beneficial for both and can be attractive for more Vietnamese tourists.”
“Since HanoiRedtours has been entrusted by the Embassy of Japan to receive visa applications for Vietnamese customers, the number of visitors to Japan has increased dramatically. The waiting time will be shortened from 8 days to only 4-5 days.”said Nguyen Cong Hoan – Deputy General Director of HanoiRedtours. The unit has also honored by the Japan Tourism Board for best tour in Japan 2017.
Only one year after applying this loosening visa policy, the number of Vietnamese visitors to Japan in 2017 surged to 308,900. This is the highest record ever and the growth rate is 32% compared to 2016. This is also a high growth rate compared to other Southeast Asian markets.