The island located off the southwest tip of Vietnam is very close to the Cambodian border and visited by cruise ships on their way to Hong Kong.

Effective 10 March, visa exemption is also applicable to foreigners, who are in transit at an international border gate in Vietnam (including by air or by sea) and are heading for Phu Quoc Island.

The visa policy is expected to transform the destination into a national and international hi-end holiday spot. One of the targets is long-stay visitors, wealthy Chinese who are keen to own second homes in neighbouring countries.

The visa-free stay is valid for 30 days, but travellers must, either enter through the island’s sea port, or through its airport after transiting through Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City’s international airports.

Visa exemption applies to: Brunei; Cambodia; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Myanmar; Japan; South Korea; Denmark; Finland; Norway; Sweden and Russia.

A district of the southern Mekong Delta province, Phu Quoc Island has a total area of 574 sqm and a permanent population of approximately 85,000. In 2006, Phu Quoc was recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

There are 3,000 hotel rooms on the island of which 2,000 are in the three-star room category.

In 2013, Phu Quoc welcomed 94,000 foreign visitors out of its total 416,000 arrivals.

By 2020, Phu Quoc Island will become a special administrative-economic zone, when it should gross US$771 million in revenue from hospitality services. The island should welcome between 2 to 3 million tourists annually by then; 40% of them foreigners.

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit - TTR Weekly - March 13, 2014