Pictured: L-R moderator Jutamas Wisansing; Seila Hul, deputy director of the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia; Vongdeuan Keosulivong, acting director of division, Tourism Marketing Department, Laos; Nyi Nyi Oo, deputy director, Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar; Vu Nam, deputy director general, Tourism Marketing Department, Vietnam, and Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor of marketing communications, Tourism Authority of Thailand
A singe entry visa for five countries in the South East Asia region is set to happen “sooner rather than later”, delegates at Thai Travel Mart have been told.
In a conference session with representatives from the CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) group discussed how better the countries can work together to drive tourism and prosperity.
When asked about the progress of a long-touted single-entry visa, the deputy director of the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, Seila Hul, said: “We are working on it with our best intentions. Sooner or later we are going to get it.”
Talks were first held on whether to have a single-entry visa for the region in 2005, but the countries have been quiet on the progress in recent years.
Hul said there was a memorandum of understanding between Cambodia and Thailand for a dual visa. Currently, Thailand allows citizens of 73 countries to obtain a visa on arrival while Cambodia allows the same for citizens of around 30 countries.
Delegates heard that the countries are “trying to simplify” the visa process, but are also looking to stop travellers exploiting a 30-day visa rule by crossing a border for a day trip to get an extension.
“When we are together, we are better,” said the session’s moderator, assistant professor Jutamas Wisansing.
In February, limits were added to the use of 30-day visas in Thailand so they can now only be used twice a year.
Pataraporn Sithivanich, executive director for EMEA at the Tourism Authority of Thailand said some exemptions could be made for people travelling to Thailand for health tourism. She said hospitals had to endorse foreign nationals in that position to extend their visas.
“The government will be looking at how people can have longer visas,” she added.