Schengen-like visa for Thailand, Vietnam, 4 other nations

Schengen like visa for Thailand Vietnam 4 other nations

Thailand along with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam hosted about 70 million tourists last year. And anticipating a tourism boom in the coming years, Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is steering an initiative for a Schengen-type visa program for the six nations in SouthEast Asia. The facility will ensure seamless mobility for travellers among the six neighbouring countries and also attract more long-haul and high-spending travellers.

As per a Bloomberg report, Srettha has discussed the single-visa concept with his counterparts and most leaders have responded to it positively.

Speaking about it, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, a former president of the Thai Hotels Association, said “a common visa could entice long-haul travelers to make an easier decision.” However, to make it attractive, the visa validity will need to be extended to 90 days from the usual 30-day period, she said.

Adding to it, Bill Barnett, managing director of hospitality and property consultancy C9 Hotelworks said, if done right, the benefits of visa-free travel won’t be confined to tourism alone as ease of travel would be a boon for business travelers and trade.

The single visa is the most ambitious among Srettha’s lineup of tourism initiatives but is targeted for the long term. The industry has served the country well, accounting for about 20% of total jobs and making up about 12% of the nation’s $500 billion economy. Barring the pandemic years, tourism has flourished and provided a cushion against a slump in manufacturing and exports, the traditional bulwarks of the economy, reported mint.

The six Southeast Asian nations reported a combined 70 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2023, according to official data. Thailand and Malaysia accounted for more than half of the tally, generating about $48 billion in tourism revenue.

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