Connect with us

Thailand

Thailand News: Failure to join CLMV could cost millions

Published

 on 

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

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Teaching in Thailand4 seconds ago

How to land an English teaching job in Thailand

Tourism36 seconds ago

Cruise brings 600 tourists to Koh Samui

Politics10 mins ago

Bangladeshi-Burmese border conference offers model for Thailand

Sponsored2 hours ago

What makes Tops Fine Food the ideal place to shop for premium food in Bangkok

Press Room11 mins ago

BKFC Asia 4: The Big Bash announced for December 10

Pattaya17 mins ago

Pattaya hotel thieves snatch valuables from Thai and Dutch tourists

Thailand18 mins ago

Thai gold necklace thief escapes arrest by swimming to Myanmar

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
China1 hour ago

People of China protest on streets over mainland’s zero-Covid policy

World1 hour ago

Iranian Kurdish football player arrested after speaking out

Tourism2 hours ago

Thailand’s monkey feast festival in Lopburi attracts raucous crowd

Travel2 hours ago

Eat, pray, sleep Bali-Style- how I escaped the box

Thailand3 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison | GMT

Crime19 hours ago

Angry woman sets fire to her boyfriend’s Pattaya room

Thailand19 hours ago

Explore Thailand’s least visited city in the South!

Pattaya20 hours ago

Newborn baby found in Pattaya trash can

Crime20 hours ago

Poll examines sexual violence causes, definitions

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending