A single-entry visa is not just going to be held by the European Union any longer. A couple of small countries have decided to join in and see how effective it can be for higher tourism for both of them. Thailand and Cambodia have launched a single-entry visa into their countries.
The Asia News Network reported that Thailand and Cambodia have released the launching what is currently known as the Acmecs Single Visa. It is the Asean version of the European Union’s Schengen Visa scheme. The Acmecs, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy, is made up of five countries, which include Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Thailand and Cambodia are the first of the two to implement the new single-entry visa. Tourists can now use either country’s embassy and receive a single-entry visa for both countries. “If the initial project is successful, then the remaining Acmecs members will join the scheme,” said Foreign Minister Surapong Towichuk-chaikul.
The main objective of the new single-entry visa is to boost tourism throughout these Asian areas. The report stated 21 million tourists visited Thailand in 2012. In contrast, Cambodia only experienced a fraction of that tourism at 2.3 million. Since Thailand is the most attractive, tourists will enjoy being able to travel to Cambodia as an additional destination. The single visa will definitely benefit both and eventually, all five countries of the Asean scheme. From the onset, the emerging idea was “four countries-one destination”, in which Vietnam joined later.
The new single-entry visa, however, will not exempt tourists from being required to pay the actual visa fees of the country the desire to travel to. For example, the Thai embassy will have its’ own entry fee. If the tourist is planning to travel to Cambodia, they will have to pay the entry fee for Cambodia at the Thai embassy at the same time in order to travel there.
For the aspiring countries to pursue economic growth together should be no surprise. Both countries have already agreed to increase their trading with one another by 30% per year. They will also begin upgrades on the infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, to handle the increased tourism.
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References: 12.27.12, Supalak Ganjanakhundee in Bangkok/The Nation/Asia News Network, Thailand, Cambodia launch single-entry visa