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Pattaya Daily News

24 September 2011 :: 14:09:11 pm 58549

Vietnam visa together with Mekong visa plan ‘years’ away: Tourism body

The prospect of a single tourist visa for the six countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region remains remote but could be discussed at a meeting in Bagan in November, a spokesperson from the Mekong river map Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office said last week.
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Tourism ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are expected to attend the GMS Working Group Meeting, as well as representatives from the private sector.

The MTCO spokesperson said a major sticking point for introducing the single visa was the likely negative impact on revenue from tourist visas, which she described as a “golden goose” for some GMS countries.

“It may take years before the countries agree on [the single visa] and then implementation will remain a big challenge, including who collects the money and how is it spread among the countries. Thailand had agreed since 2009 on a single visa scheme but this was never implemented,” the spokesperson told.

“The single visa project … is a long-term project. In principle the ministries of tourism are willing to move into this direction but the decision needs to be made at the highest government level.”

It was not even certain the issue would be raised in November, she said, as the agenda has not yet been developed.
Vietnam is one of six countries which enable for tourists with simple visa policy.

While the visa would likely increase arrivals and make travel between the six countries easier, the spokesperson said governments should focus on spreading the benefits of tourism further among their populations.

“I believe the priority is to promote and facilitate a more controlled development of tourism … rather than looking only at numbers of arrivals [and a policy that] benefits mainly a few big enterprises, which are reaping most of the benefits,” she said.

She also recommended studies into “how tourism can benefit the destinations and contribute to the economic development of the local communities”.

“Tourism is a fantastic sector of activity that truly supports the human and economic development at the local level if developed in a sustainable manner. The countries will benefit even more in the long run if they recognize that and implement accordingly.”

To know in more detail, please see website www.vietnamvisaonline.net

Category : Tourism News

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