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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

8th January 2016

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was initially formed in 1967 and now includes the jurisdictions of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Myanmar. Initially, ASEAN was a sort of loose coalition which generally acted in cooperation on matters of trade facilitation and various forms of international law and regulatory enforcement. The ASEAN Community which came into being on January 1, 2016 is a different type of entity. The AC is more akin to the European Union. Although, in many respects the AC and the EU are markedly different, most notably in the fact that the AC is unlikely to see anything resembling a unified currency any time soon. However, this blogger would posit that it is not an impossibility that a coordinated currency policy could come to exist in the AC region in the future.

One of the interesting aspects of the AC is the so-called ASEAN Economic Community or AEC. This is the economic infrastructure of the new community. At present completely free movement of people and labor is not being implemented by the community, but there are signs that such a scenario could come to pass in later phases of the AC. For example, there are 8 occupations which will be allowed freer movement within the AEC framework and they are: accounting, dental services, architecture, surveying, nursing, tourism, engineering and medical services. Those who hail from one of the ASEAN jurisdictions and engage in the aforementioned endeavors could see their career prospects improved as a result of new markets opening for their specific skill set. In Thailand it appears AC passport holders will still be required to obtain a Thai work permit, notwithstanding the creation of the AEC .

As can be seen from the various ceremonies marking the creation of the AC it is clear that many of the respective ASEAN governments welcome the establishment of the AC with open arms. In Thailand, the establishment of the AC coupled with the plans to make Bangkok the rail hub for trade between Eastern Southeast Asia, Western Southeast Asia, and Southern China could mean that Bangkok will become a central entrepot for trade and travel. Meanwhile, Thai officials are still studying the provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

How the AC will ultimately function remains to be seen as the union brings together disparate political systems and jurisdictions with radically differing economies, but one thing is clear: the AC is poised to be the most dynamic economy worldwide as the region is a crossroads for trade and the economies throughout the region appear ready to significantly expand in the future.  As of the time of this writing there does not appear to be a coordinated plan to create unified ASEAN visa structure akin to the Schengen system, but in time such a development may come to fruition

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20th February 2012

In previous postings on this web log the issue of a single travel document for use throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been discussed. ASEAN includes many of the nations which comprise Southeast Asia including: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. At the present time, it is not possible to obtain a visa or travel document which would allow entry into all of these nations as travelers must obtain a visa for each individual country before traveling thereto (in some cases, visas on arrival or visa exemptions may be obtained depending upon the local immigration rules and the passport holder’s nationality). Many travelers find that this situation can make traveling in Southeast Asia rather difficult as obtaining multiple visas from multiple Embassies and/or Consulates can be a time consuming endeavor. In an effort to remedy this situation, many of the ASEAN nations have voiced support for a single ASEAN visa scheme. However, efforts to implement a single ASEAN visa program have yet to bear fruit. Recently, it came to this blogger’s attention that the Vice-President of Indonesia has made comments in support of further efforts to facilitate a single ASEAN visa program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from a January 13th article posted on the website Philstar.com:

JAKARTA (Xinhua) – Indonesian Vice President Boediono asks the ASEAN to speed up implementation of a joint visa for the region in order to boost the number of foreign tourist arrivals and services in the industry in the region amid the global economic crisis threat, a statement from the vice presidential office said here on Friday…”The goal that we want to reach is not only the increasing number of tourist but also the improved quality of services and the sustainability of the visits,” Boediono said…ASEAN leaders had given commitment for the implementation of the facility during the 11th ASEAN Summit in Bali in Nov. 2011.

Readers are asked to click upon the hyperlink noted above to read this article in full.

There is little doubt that a single ASEAN visa scheme would provide benefits to ASEAN members in the form of increased tourism especially for destinations that are sometimes overlooked by travelers put off by the prospect of processing more than one visa application. One could also speculate that a single ASEAN visa would be beneficial to business travelers wishing to visit more than one ASEAN jurisdiction.

Currently, it does not appear as though a single ASEAN visa scheme will be implemented in the near future, but there is room to hope that progress will be made as it appears there are many officials in the region who support the notion of a single ASEAN visa, at least conceptually. Meanwhile, issues associated with visa procurement in Southeast Asia are evolving. To shed further light upon recent developments it is necessary to quote directly from the website Eturbonews.com:

For now, non-ASEAN travelers have to play with different rules for almost each country…Myanmar just announced at the end of last month to implement e-visa facilities and relax entry into the country.

In an interview conducted by the Myanmar Times newspaper, Union Minister U Tint San declared on February 1 that the government will try to introduce an e-visa system from March that would allow international visitors to apply from anywhere via the Internet before visiting Myanmar. In parallel, the e-visa would allow travelers to enter or exit from any border crossing point. The web address for the proposed e-visa site is www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm . At ATF, Phyoe Wai Yarzar, Secretary of the newly-formed Myanmar Tourist Board, explained that e-visa facilities would, in fact, be the most efficient way for the government to balance the absence of diplomatic representations.

They are also rumors that Vietnam would work on a e-visa solution. There is already the possibility of getting a pre- E-visa clearance in certain cases. But the procedure remains expensive and on a case-by-case basis. Officials from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism admitted during the ATF that lengthy visa formalities are certainly a major handicap to the development of tourism. Nothing official has been announced so far, but it seems that the government seems to realize that it has to change the way visa is provided if Vietnam does not want to lose out tourists to other destinations.

The administration of this web log encourages readers to visit the hyperlink noted above to read this article in detail.

In the past, the process for obtaining a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma) could be quite cumbersome. It has been this blogger’s relatively recent experience that obtaining a Myanmar visa is somewhat time consuming, but not particularly difficult compared to visa procurement for other nations in the region. Hopefully, the developments mentioned above will lead to further streamlining of visa processing for those wishing to enter countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).

Although it remains to be seen when a single ASEAN visa scheme will be fully implemented ASEAN members appear committed to such an endeavor which will likely provide benefits for all concerned.

For related information please see: Thailand visa

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