Vietnamese tourism and foreign relations authorities are set to work with their counterparts from Thailand and Cambodia to introduce a single visa for tourists to the three countries.
Hoàng Thị Diệp, deputy head of the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism, was quoted by Thời báo Kinh tế Sài Gòn (Saigon Economic Times) as saying Thailand and Cambodia get a large number of tourists, are close to Việt Nam, and already have a common visa for tourists.
Foreign tourists in Hồ Chí Minh City
The two countries signed an agreement last year to allow tourists from 35 countries and regions including Europe, Australia, the US, Hong Kong, Japan, China, and South Korea to visit both on a single visa.
Diệp said Southeast Asian countries also plan to have a common visa for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.
Hồ Chí Minh City authorities in May asked the tourism administration to push for a single visa for Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Việt Nam.
Lã Quốc Khanh, deputy head of the city’s tourism department, said Việt Nam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar have been cooperating at international tourism fairs for the past few years and now want to bring Thailand into the fold.
Together the four countries attracted 14.8 million visitors last year, he said.
Travel agencies have been pushing for a one-visa policy that would enable tourists to travel freely across Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Việt Nam.
But Việt Nam already rejected the common visa concept when it was first mooted in 2010.
Vietnamese tourism officials had argued that the extra visa fees would not deter wealthy travelers and visa waivers would cause major losses to the tourism industry.
Tourists have also complained that when they go to Cambodia or Laos, they can simply turn up and pay US$25 on arrival while Việt Nam charges almost double at $45 for a 30-day or 90-day single entry visa, the most expensive in the region.
Source: Thanh Niên News