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NEWS UPDATES 16 August 2010

Thai single visa passport needed

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Tourism observers says that Thailand needs to move more quickly in speeding up the establishment of a single visa among Asean members and the 10-country group's six dialogue partners to enhance tourism within Asia.

"The move will increase the free flow of visitors within the region, particularly visitors from China, and reinforce the government's policy to raise income from the service sector. " China Hina recently estimated as many as 54 million Chinese travellers would go abroad this year, up from 47 million in 2009.

The Asean Economic Community (AEC) takes effect in 2015, but the to countries have not settled on a single visa to Asean for travellers from outside the bloc. Citizens of Asean countries can travel visa-free within the bloc.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand during the first six months of this year totalled 7.52 million, up 13.7 percent from the same period in 2009 despite the sharp decline during the unrest in April and May.

East Asian visitors had the biggest share at 3.67 million. Among them, Malaysians topped the list with 930,660, followed by Japanese at 475,386, Chinese 471,462, and Koreans 382,394. Ranked second were tourists from Europe, up 15.9 percent to 2.27 million.

Arrivals from the Americas rose 3.64 percent to 431,381. Tourists from the United States increased 1.95 percent to 310,454 while arrivals from Brazil and Canada showed growth of 17.3 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

. Indian arrivals rose 18.4 percent to 344,063, making it the region's fastest-growing market.

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