Asean to boost tourism by fixing roads
- Published: 8/05/2013 at 05:18 PM
- Online news:
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)is to prioritise improving road transport and simplifying visa rules as part of a plan to boost tourism in member states.
Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said the association is to prioritise improving road transport and simplifying visa rules, as part of a plan to boost tourism in member states. (Photo: Asean)
Issuing a progress report on the association's work in relation to tourism, Asean secretary-general Le Luong Minh said better cross-border road transport between countries will lead to “seamless land travel”, which will develop tourism and advance economic and social development in the region.
In 2012, more than 87 million tourists visited Asean countries, almost half of whom travelled from one Southeast Asian country to another.
Mr Minh’s five-year-tenure, which began in January, will see the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), in December 2015. The AEC is intended to transform Asean into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, and skilled labour, so cross-border transport is vital to achieving this.
Mr Minh said Asean is developing an agreement “to facilitate cross-border road transport of people between and among Asean member states” through the “simplification and harmonisation” of transport procedures and requirements in the ten countries that make up the bloc.
He added that the association is currently focusing on completing the Asean Highway network, carrying out works including finishing missing sections of the network and improving the quality of roads.
To increase the number of tourists visiting Asean countries from the rest of the world, Mr Minh said plans to simplify visa procedures are moving forward. As such, a study exploring the feasibility of a common tourist visa for non-Asean nationals who want to visit the region is underway.
“Recognising that a single tourist visa could substantially benefit travel facilitation and tourism in the region, Asean member states continue to promote an Asean common visa,” he said.
“Significant progress was made by Thailand and Cambodia when they agreed to implement a single visa agreement. Since December 2012 non-Asean visitors just need to obtain one visa to visit both countries.”
Mr Minh added that the notion of a common tourist visa is “enjoying broad support” from officials in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
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