ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai visa plan expected to push Cambodia tourism
Fri, 7 August 2015
Aiming to boost tourism numbers in its own country, Thailand has approved a multiple-entry visa that will allow tourists to leave and re-enter the country several times during a six month period, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.
However, tourism officials in Cambodia have also welcomed the move they say will have spillover effects for the Kingdom.
In June, Cambodia and Thailand established the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” tourism pact, which allows tourists to travel between Cambodia and Thailand using a single visa. In a shared campaign, both governments are hoping to lure tourists across both countries when they visit either Cambodia or Thailand.
Tith Chantha, secretary of state at Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, said Thailand’s new visa announcement would enhance the joint efforts.
“It will benefit Cambodia tourism as well because of our connection in the field of tourism,” he said.
Unlike the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” single visa announced in June, Chantha said that the new multiple-entry Thai visa would not give reciprocal visa access to Cambodia.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said any boost to Thai tourism was a good thing for Cambodia’s industry.
“A country like Cambodia will benefit because [tourists] will come to visit Cambodia after visiting Thailand,” he said.
“People who provide direct and indirect services in Cambodia will receive more income through tourists paying for food, services, and accommodations.”
Ho Vandy, president of local tour company, World Express Tours, said with rising interest from Asian tourists to Cambodia, he hoped that the Thai visa changes would also appeal to more tourists from western countries.
“To have more Western tourists visit Cambodia is our priority,” he said.
Vandy said the private sector was still hopeful that the government would consider discounting the visa fee for Cambodia.
“Since 2008 we have proposed to the government to make a discount or waive the visa for the tourists. We have not yet received any feedback from the government about this. The government makes a lot of money through the visa fee.”
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