Connect with us

Thailand

Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

on

Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Reluctance to join single-visa scheme could prove to be costly
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Thailand has to revise its strategy concerning a regional single visa scheme, or it could lose millions of tourists to neighboring countries, which are kicking off the “CLMV Single Visa” next year without the Kingdom’s participation.

Five countries – Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar – agreed in 2005 to relax immigration procedures to attract more non-ASEAN visitors to the region under the framework of Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation. They created the “Five Countries One Destination” campaign and ACMEC Single Visa to attract tourists from outside the region, especially from Europe, North America and Australia.

Tourists applying for a visa at any of the countries would automatically be allowed entry to the other four countries under the scheme, which is similar to Europe’s Schengen system.

In July, the CLMV Single Visa was launched by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

These four nations plan to promote the new visa scheme to targeted markets at the World Travel Mart in London from November 5-8 and to alliances at the world’s largest tourism trade fair in Germany early next year.

Thanate Vorasaran, vice president of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT), said on Tuesday that Thailand was left out because of its stance on issuing visas.

The government, after years of negotiation, refused to join the agreement, saying it already permitted visitors from up to 45 nations to enter without a visa.

Thailand also signed a deal with Cambodia in 2007 for a single-visa scheme, but it is not yet activated. However, at all border checkpoints, Thai officials are ready to assist third-country tourists from Cambodia to pass through immigration.

Besides its unclear policy, Thailand was also suspected of fearing a loss of revenue from visa fees if it joined ACMEC, which requires tourists to pay the fee at the country of entry.

“In fact, all four countries need Thailand because they want tourists from Thailand,” Thanate said.

“Thailand alone received 20 million visitors in 2011, [compared with] more than the 12.3 million combined arrivals in the four countries. Thailand projects 26 million tourists in 2015 while CLMV nations aim at 25 million.”

China is now the largest source of Thai tourism revenue. Thailand could earn more than 1 billion baht per year in visa fees from the more than 2 million Chinese tourists expected to travel to the Kingdom.

About 2.2 million Chinese are expected to visit Thailand this year, up from 1.7 million last year. If neighboring countries waive visa fees for the Chinese, Thailand will suffer a huge loss. Tourists from third countries may shift to destinations in Indochina and Myanmar.

Vietnam was reported as having already waived entry permits for Chinese tourists, but the visa fee has been retained.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), has been urging the government for years to waive the visa fee for Chinese visitors.

“Private operators in Thailand now fear that inbound tourism will drop if non-ASEAN tourists enjoy greater convenience when entering other countries. Though we are in a strategic location, we will be unable to grasp the opportunity,” he said.

To build tourism competitiveness, the TCT and ATTA urged the Foreign Ministry to rejoin the CLMV Single Visa by fine-tuning the agreement or doing more bilateral deals with each country.

Kongkrit Hirantakit, a tourism adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, said cross-border and intra-regional travel were parts of the main focus of the government to improve Thailand’s tourism industry. He has advised the Foreign and Tourism ministries to link Thai tourism with all ASEAN countries to regain the country’s competitiveness. Thai tourism’s edge has already dropped for five straight years despite the growth in arrivals.

Thailand’s share of the regional tourism market plunged from 38 per cent in 2008 to 33 per cent last year. Singapore and Malaysia became key rivals, as they have developed many new attractions and continue progressive plans.

About 80 million visitors travel into the region. Of them, 36 million or 45 per cent are from ASEAN countries and 44 million are from outside the region.

The average growth of tourism for the region is 6-7 per cent, a little higher than for the Asia-Pacific region.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Thai exports fall 5.7 percent in January, year-on-year

Kritsada Mueanhawong

Published

on

Thai exports fall 5.7 percent in January, year-on-year | The Thaiger

Thai export results have dipped for the third straight month, falling more than 5.65% compared to a year earlier. The fall was a lot bigger than expected, according to the Thai commerce ministry.

Shipments contracted 1.72% in December, compared to a year earlier as well.

January’s export drop was due to falling shipments of rice, gold, electronics and cars, according to the ministry. Digging into the numbers, exports to the US rose 8.3% in the first month of the year, compared to January 2018, but exports to China slumped 16.7%.

The strong Thai baht, Asia’s best performing currency this year, has increasingly hit exports, particularly rice orders.

Checking imports for the same period, and the numbers jumped surprisingly 13.99% year on year, after sliding 8.15% in December 2018. Analysts say the surge in imports was partly due to imports of arms and military weapons.

There was a trade deficit of $4.03 billion in January, compared with a forecast surplus of $320 million surplus. December 2018 had a $1.06 billion surplus.

But the ministry says they are still forecasting export growth of 8% for 2019 after a 6.7% increase last year.

Continue Reading

Thailand

Weather for February 22

Kritsada Mueanhawong

Published

on

Weather for February 22 | The Thaiger

Bangkok

Generally clear. High 35ºC. Winds S at 15 to 25 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

Phuket

Generally clear. High 32ºC. E winds shifting to S at 15 to 25 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai

Generally clear. High 36ºC. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

Pattaya

Generally clear. High 31ºC. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

Hua Hin

Partly cloudy. High 33ºC. Winds SSE at 15 to 30 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

Ko Samui

Partly cloudy. High 26ºC. Winds SE at 15 to 25 km/h.

Weather for February 22 | News by The Thaiger

 

Continue Reading

Business

Strong baht a concern for Thai hotel sector

Bill Barnett

Published

on

Strong baht a concern for Thai hotel sector | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett

Thailand’s baht performance against Asian currencies in 2018, was unmatched, with the exception of the Japanese yen.

Commenting on the trend financial news Bloomberg have highlighted that in 2019, a further 4% in growth this year have it sitting at the top of the table.

Oddly, one of the underlying factors stimulating the baht’s appreciation is the recovery in tourism arrivals which has a double-digit impact on the country’s GDP.

While the elections remain a wild card on forward expectations, the reality is that the currency has not been hit like the Chinese yuan, which has been disrupted by a threatened U.S. China trade war and slowdown in its economy.

Despite higher than expected tourism numbers in 2018, hotel owners are cautiously optimistic on the prospects for the year.

In reality, despite rising prices for visitors, the economic climate is leading many property developers turning to hospitality assets as the real estate market remains volatile. The general view is that sustainable cash flow as part of their business mix is good and that tourism fundamentals remain strong.

Still, looking at nearby competitors such as Vietnam, which is rapidly growing from a cub into a tourism tiger, the issue of affordability is concerning. Currency swings remain a real and present factor in demand, so expect hoteliers to keep watching currency levels closely in 2019.

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required

Trending