To woo Vietnamese visitors, many regional countries are working hard to promote their images and launch a series of incentive programs including relaxing visa requirements, offering discounts and giving greater tourist support.

Not long after South Korea reduced the visa fee from US$30 to US$20 and loosened procedures for proving financial capability to attract more visitors from Vietnam, Turkey has introduced a new policy on its entry procedures.

Turkey provides an e-visa service for Vietnamese tourists entering the country for travel or business purposes. Vietnamese travelers having round-trip tickets of Turkish Airlines, valid passports and Schengen visas issued by EU states or members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development only need to check out the website of Turkey’s migration agency to provide information and pay by credit card to print out their e-visa.

Japan earlier announced to issue multi-entry visa for Vietnamese tourists instead of single-entry visa. At a meeting with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) last month, representatives of Japan’s tourism promotion agency said Japan was looking to lure 200,000 Vietnamese visitors by 2015 compared to the 55,000 in 2011.

Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the Travel Division under VNAT, believes that Japan’s target is achievable given numerous promotions that are being offered in Vietnam by the Northeast Asian nation’s tourism industry.

The Japanese tourism promotion agency and companies have organized plenty of programs for Vietnamese firms and media to study Japan’s tourism and have rolled out big discounts for customers. At present, prices of tours to Japan have been slashed by up to VND10 million.

Like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia who raced to apply multiple incentives to woo Vietnamese visitors before, other foreign destinations like South Korea have started adopting attractive policies to boost their tourism sales. Korean tours offer incentives for Vietnamese MICE groups, including discounts of 10-15% for visitors travelling by themselves and those using services at resorts and entertainment areas in the winter season.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council said it would support air tickets and hotel fees or even cash for organizations or enterprises taking customer groups to the territory for healthcare services associated with travel purposes.

Tran Xuan Hung, director of Viking Company, said many nations had taken prompt actions to win the hearts of Vietnamese travelers. For instance, he said, when Viking representatives went to Buhtan to make surveys for arrangements of a caravan tour set for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, they were extended a warm welcome by the local tourism authorities.

Tourism companies in HCMC agreed that thanks to strong promotions, the number of Vietnamese traveling abroad has grown sharply. Korea saw a 20% pickup in Vietnamese tourist arrivals in January-September. The number of Vietnamese visitors to Japan is expected to double to around 100,000 this year.

Although there is no official information on the number of Vietnamese travelling overseas annually, the Vietnam Tourism Association estimates the annual growth rate at 20% in recent years despite protracted economic difficulties. In 2012, some 3.5 million local people went abroad with total spending of roughly US$3.5 billion.