EXCLUSIVE: Travel industry doyen, Wendy Wu, the founder of Wendy Wu Tours, this week held talks with the Prime Minister of Vietnam to lobby for visa-free entry for Australian and New Zealand travellers visiting the country.
The move would alleviate the process currently required by Australian travellers to either visit the Vietnam consulate in person or to post their passport for processing, which can take several weeks. Wendy Wu Tours advises customers that passports and visa application forms are required 75 days prior to departure.
Speaking exclusively with LATTE, Wu said that having meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc last year to try improve access to Vietnam for British travellers, she would use this second counsel with the Vietnam Government to again seek consideration to streamline the entry process for Aussie and Kiwi travellers.
“Last year I was successful in expanding the British visa-free entry for up to two weeks which was quite amazing,” Wu said. The change enables UK passport holders to enter Vietnam without a visa for stays of no longer than 15 days.
Wu said she has the opportunity to share her view and provide feedback on what has been a winning move for Brits, with UK tourist numbers soaring to Vietnam since the visa-free period was adopted.
“I approached Prime Minister Phuc again this week, and hopefully have persuaded him to authorise it for Australia and New Zealand,” Wu told LATTE confidently.
Wu is in Vietnam for the inaugural sailing of the Victoria Mekong, a deluxe river cruise ship which Wendy Wu Tours has chartered for a number of departures as the company dabbles in the cruise market. Featuring 33 cabins, all with private balconies, Victoria Mekong is paired with a collection of curated group tours in 2020 on three- and four-night sailings between Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and Cambodia’s Phnom Penh.
Her argument to the Prime Minister will be “imagine what this will do for the Australian market for Vietnam?” Wu said she had argued her position “on behalf of the Australian travel industry” to make it simpler to visit the Southeast Asian nation.
The focus on Vietnam follows a recent improvement for Wendy Wu Tours’ passengers visiting China.
Wu said some of her latest “inventions” to lighten the burden for clients include a “hassle-free” 30-day visa available for Australians entering the country through Shanghai in groups of two or more and an “e-mail visa” for British travellers arriving at Chongqing. In both instances, Wendy Wu Tours takes care of the paperwork behind the scenes for those travellers, streamlining the entry process.
She is hopeful of expanding the process to other Chinese gateways including Beijing.