Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/12/2013 -- The Vietnamese Prime Minister has asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies to look into the possibility of operating a single visa for tourists travelling to Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. This idea has been mooted for quite some time but now appears to be getting closer to reality. It is thought that doing so would go a long way towards promoting travel in the region. The complex and sometimes complicated system currently in place, is seen to dissuade some people from coming to Southeast Asia.
Travel companies would certainly welcome the idea. With more and more people realising the enormous beauty and culturally significant sites in the three countries, it is seen as a very positive step in encourage three country holidays. Travel big hitters Asia Tour Advisor’s CEO, Mr. Tran Truong said of the plan, “It would be of tremendous benefit to all three countries. Increasingly we are being asked regarding travel between the countries, when people come on holiday. It would be nice to simplify the situation. It is not hard to think of the attraction of selling a single holiday that includes Angkor Wat, Ha Long Bay and Phuket, for example.”
Coming at the same time as increased air traffic in the region it is another positive piece of news. Siem Reap has opened up many new landing slots in recent weeks, breaking the monopoly that Bangkok Airways had on the route from Bangkok. This was once the most expensive flight per mile in the world and prices have already started to tumble.
Tourism experts think that this will be the first step in the implementation of a single visa system for all ASEAN countries. Mr Tran again, “We are all hopeful of one day soon seeing a single visa for all the region. It would be such a boost to trade and a significant saving on administrative costs. For a tourist’s point of view, it would be a big financial bonus for anyone planning to visit three or even more countries on one trip. That has to be seen as a positive step.”
Since December of last year, Thailand and Cambodia agreed that tourists from 35 countries may enter both countries using a single visa. International tourists can obtain the two country visas at respective embassies or border gates within Cambodia or Thailand. This is of course what has been happening in the European Union for many years now.
The move is expected to see big increases in International tourism to all three countries, but Vietnam would probably be the big winner. Bangkok for example, is already the most popular city for tourists in the world, marginally beating London. Angkor Wat is one of the biggest tourist destinations in all of Asia, Vietnam, by comparison, has been hiding its light under a bushel, somewhat. Many people in the West do not even know what Halong Bay or Sapa for example have to offer.
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