Troi Oi: Vietnamese news roundup in October

USD25 will be the new fee for single entry visas, down from USD45, as the government seeks to boost tourism. Multi-entry visas will drop from USD95 to USD50, while longer-term visas will range from USD95 – USD155. The figures were announced on the finance ministry’s website on October 13, and the changes will go into effect from November 23. Finally, for tourists who enter Vietnam to travel on through Laos and Cambodia, before returning to Vietnam to fly home, the visa fee will drop to only USD5. More international flights operate from Vietnam compared with Laos and Cambodia, and the drop in visa prices will hopefully encourage travelers to visit Vietnam as part of a three- country package.

8% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 has been pledged by the government, an equivalent of around 787.4 million tons of carbon dioxide. Deputy Chief of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Hydrometeorology and Climate Change Department, Nguyen Khac Hieu, has stated that Vietnam can only allocate USD3.2 million of the USD21 billion required to achieve the larger goal while international donors will be courted to make up the shortfall. Emission reduction will be mostly focused in the transport and communications sectors, alongside agriculture and land use. Vietnam’s average temperature has risen by 0.5 percent in the last 50 years, while average sea level has risen by about 20 centimeters.

USD283 million will be spent expanding Tan Son Nhat Airport. The project, which will take place over the next five years, will expand the footprint of the airport by around eight hectares, allowing 82 airplanes to be parked at the same time, doubling the current capacity. Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat stated that in 2014 the airport handled 22 million passengers and 406,000 tons of cargo. The terminals will also be upgraded as part of a planned expansion of passenger capacity to 25 million passengers per year by 2020. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam also seeks to expand Da Nang airport, which received 5 million passengers in 2014, a growth of 15.6 percent on the previous year. Such expansions will help deal with increased visitor numbers prior to the completion of Long Thanh Airport, located in Dong Nai Province around 40km from Ho Chi Minh City. The first phase of the Long Thanh project will begin in 2019, and is expected to cost USD15.8 billion.

2,500 cubic meters of water were released every second from a Chinese reservoir 200km upstream of Lao Cai last month. The release caused flooding in Lao Cai Province as the Hong River surged, water level reaching a peak of 81.41 meters on October 11. There are more than 80,000 dams in China, around 25 of which span the Hong River. The two largest are Namsa, which contains 260 million cubic meters of water, and Madusan, which contains 551 million cubic meters. Together with a number of other smaller dams, Chinese reservoirs can hold nearly 50 percent of the water volume of the Hong River section in Vietnam. While Lao Cai was the worst hit by these recent floods, effects were also felt in Yen Bai Province and as far downstream as Hanoi.

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