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Tour operators have welcomed a decision by Burmese authorities to introduce an online tourist visa application system.

The eVisa website, which is in its final test phase, is due to go live on September 1.

A limited number of visas will be granted via the site before then, to applicants identified by the immigration ministry.

A 28-day tourist visa will cost US$50 and take up to five days to process.

EVisa holders will only be able to enter the country through Yangon Airport initially, although the authorities say they hope to extend entry points in future.

Leading small group adventure operator Intrepid Travel welcomed the online scheme.

The company’s head of new business, Daniel Pawlyn, said: “Burma has been a star performer for us with sales up 66% on last year, so anything that makes the process quicker and easier for clients is a positive step.

“With the approval process taking just five days, it should ensure holidaymakers have a hassle-free start to their trip.”

Applicants need to provide a colour photograph taken in the last three months and have six months left on their passport.

The eVisa approval letter is valid for three months from the issue date.

Cambodia launched a new e-visa site this week and announced visa prices would rise for leisure and business travellers from October 1.

The new site evisa.mfaic.gov.kh replaces the former evisa.gov.kh A single-entry e-visa valid for three months will cost US$30 from October 1, up from US$20.