[IMG=20366-6127]Thanitta Maneechote, Director of the Office of Tourism Development of the Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand, said that the issue regarding single visa introduction for all ASEAN member countries is being discussed at the meeting of national-level ASEAN tourism agencies held in Chiang May. The information was published on the Internet portal www.ThaiSnews.com.
The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are ten countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Filipinos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. According to Mrs. Maneechote, introduction of a single visa for all ASEAN countries will stimulate the increase of tourist flow and consequently boost tourism income. The first step towards a single visa introduction has been already made – at present Thailand has a single visa agreement with Cambodia.
Meanwhile, Russian travel market players support the Thai initiative; however, doubt it will have a considerable effect. Thus, Elena Komarova, Tourism Director of IntAir, commented as follows: ‘the introduction of a single visa for all ASEAN countries will hardly make a revolution on the market. Consulate fees in the most popular countries are not high; besides people who buy such tours do not seek for economizing, as a rule. Nevertheless, single visa introduction might save our time while preparing combined tours to Asia’. Andrey Kuznetsov, President of Bureau South Cross, agreed, ‘considering the cost of tour packages to the Southeastern countries, the financial benefits from a single visa introduction will not be considerable’. At the moment, a consulate fee is $25-30 for Thailand, $25-35 for Indonesia, $15 – for Singapore.
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