Simplifying visa procedures to boost Vietnam - Czech tourism connection
On June 13th, within the framework of the visit and attending the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Cultural Year in the Czech Republic, Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien had a working session with leaders of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic.
During the working session, the two sides discussed specific measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the fields of culture and tourism between the two countries in the near future.
However, the two ministers agreed that the two sides should soon negotiate and sign a new cultural cooperation agreement to replace the old one signed in 1977 to suit the current situation. Vietnam also proposed to increase the exchange of troupes between the two countries and appoint Vietnamese students to train in fields with strengths of the Czech Republic, such as opera and classical music.
The Czech Republic acknowledged Vietnam’s proposal, and proposed to have more direct and regular cooperation between cultural agencies and organizations of the two countries, including the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic was also very concerned about the plan of re-cooperation between the two national symphony orchestras, which has been interrupted since 1987, as well as learning about the art of water puppetry of Vietnam.
Mr. Daniel Herman appreciated Vietnam's idea of organizing the Vietnam Cultural Year in the Czech Republic in 2015 on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He said that the event had attracted great interest among Czech citizens, promoting the image of Vietnam in the country.
Meanwhile, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien said the Czech Republic welcomed the idea of preserving Vietnam’s cultural values in the Czech Republic and was committed to promoting and realizing the plan.
At the meeting with Minister of Regional Development Karla Slechtova, both sides realized that tourism cooperation between Vietnam and the Czech Republic were still not commensurate with the potential of the two countries. Both two sides have wonderful natural landscapes, many architectural works, historical - cultural monuments recognized by UNESCO and resorts meeting international standards. However, they have yet to exploit the full potential of this great cooperation and the number of tourists between the two countries remains modest.
One of the biggest barriers for current bilateral tourism cooperation is the problem of granting visas to citizens. At the meeting, both Ministers agreed to recommend their Governments to consider simplifying visa procedures as well as opening direct flights connecting the capitals, to make it easier for more citizens to work, study or travel.
Minister Karla Slechtova said she expected there will be changes in the granting of visas for citizens of both countries in the near future, to promote tourism cooperation of the two sides.
"At the moment, the number of tourists from Vietnam to the Czech Republic and vice versa is still modest, and I think may take a few years to increase this figure. Of course, there is a huge hindrance in the issuance of visas. Our Government is considering and trying to facilitate Vietnamese citizens to visit the Czech Republic. Once the problem is cleared up, the number of tourists will inevitably increase, and then we will certainly think about signing a cooperation agreement in the field of tourism,” said Ms. Karla Slechtova.
In the afternoon of the same day, Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien attended the closing ceremony of the Vietnam Cultural Year in the Czech Republic./.
( VNF )