Vietnam renews visa waiver program for Europeans

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Foreign tourists walk around the ancient quarter of Hanoi in a file photo. The quarters, which attracts many tourists, contains mostly traditional Vietnamese 'tunnel houses', which are of a long and narrow construction. Photo credit: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP Foreign tourists walk around the ancient quarter of Hanoi in a file photo. The quarters, which attracts many tourists, contains mostly traditional Vietnamese 'tunnel houses', which are of a long and narrow construction. Photo credit: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

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The Vietnamese government has extended a visa exemption program for Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain for another year, local media reported Friday.
It will enable citizens from the five countries to continue to travel to Vietnam for tourism or business without obtaining a visa for stays of up to 15 days, news website Vietnam Plus said, citing a decree dated June 30.
Vietnam introduced the visa waiver program to people from those countries on June 30 last year. It expired on Thursday.
The new decree extends the policy until June 30, 2017.
More than 4.7 million foreigners visited Vietnam in the first six months of this year, a 21.3 percent year-on-year increase, according to the General Statistics Office.
Tourism revenues rose 22 percent year-on-year to more than VND200 trillion (US$9 billion). Officials are confident that the country can achieve the targets of 8.5 million foreign visitors this year and $370 trillion in revenues.

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