Thailand proposes single visa scheme with Southeast Asian neighbors


Thailand’s prime minister has proposed a Schengen-like visa to make travel across six Southeast Asian countries easier, aiming to boost regional tourism.

Bangkok, Thailand – In a visionary initiative to enhance regional tourism, ThailandPrime Minister of Sreeta Savithin, proposed the introduction of a Schengen-like visa scheme that would include Thailand and five other Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. The initiative, aimed at simplifying travel between these countries, is expected to attract more long-haul and high-spending tourists, further boosting tourism in the region.

Last year, these six countries received about 70 million tourists, with Thailand and Malaysia accounting for more than half. The proposed single visa scheme is expected to go a long way in increasing these figures by making it easier for international tourists to explore the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region.

according to BurundiDiscussions on the single visa concept have begun, with Srettha engaging with regional counterparts and receiving a broadly positive response. The initiative is one of the most ambitious tourism strategies proposed by Thailand’s Prime Minister and aims to sustain the long-term growth of the tourism industry – a vital part of the country’s economy.

Marisa Sukoso Nubakdiformer chairman Thai Hotel AssociationIt is believed that a unified visa would not only simplify travel decisions for long-haul tourists, but also suggests that extending its validity to 90 days, rather than the standard 30-day limit, could significantly enhance its appeal.

Bill BarnettThe Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks further emphasized that the benefits of this visa-free travel will extend beyond the tourism industry, having a positive impact on business travel and trade by facilitating smoother cross-border movement.

Tourism plays a vital role in Southeast Asia’s economies, accounting for approximately 20% of all jobs and approximately 12% of Thailand’s $500 billion economy. In 2023, tourism-related revenue from these six countries is approximately US$48 billion, highlighting the importance of continued innovation and cooperation in promoting regional tourism.

This single visa initiative is a testament to Southeast Asia’s collaborative spirit and its commitment to creating a more connected and accessible region for travelers around the world. By making it easier for tourists to experience the diverse beauty and hospitality of Southeast Asia, the program is expected to usher in a new era of tourism prosperity for participating countries.

As an intern, George diligently monitors news flow, assists with content publishing, and conducts in-depth research on social media communication strategies. He is currently studying for a degree in Business Administration at the Athens University of Economics and Business.


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