The former Secretary General of ASEAN and Thai politician Surin Pitsuwan, speaking at the Thailand Travel Mart in Chiang Mai, said that there was a need to forge a stronger bond between ASEAN countries. This would be possible if the countries in this bloc would come together to promote tourism and share revenues. This could be possible if there is a single visa for all Southeast Asian nations as it would facilitate tourists to travel easily from one country to another in this area without restrictions.
Pitsuwan said ASEAN region with one visa would prove to be more attractive to foreign travellers than individual countries. He is quoted by travelpulse.com as saying that tourists coming to Malaysia would want to visit Phuket too. He felt that the needs of tourists visiting ASEAN would change soon. With the packages for multi-destination travel becoming the order of the day, the visa process needs to be restructured, particularly for people coming from outside the ASEAN.
Although this single visa idea would take some time to become a reality, it could be initiated by letting foreign tourists coming to Thailand get a connecting visa to the other countries in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, among others, Pitsuwan added.
It would also give immigration officials a better knowledge as to who is entering which country and the duration of their stay.
The expansion of services of low-cost carriers within cities in ASEAN nations, of late, would definitely prove to be a bonus.
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