ASEAN Governments see huge increase in tourism-led benefits of visa facilitation
India and Myanmar are the best examples in the Asia region to take full benefits from relaxed visa regime and UN-WTO recently published a report justifying that. Myanmar has established visa on arrival via online or eVisa starting from 1st of September 2014.
Visa facilitation has experienced strong progress in recent years, particularly through the implementation of visa on arrival policies according to UNWTO’s latest Visa Openness Report. This largely reflects an increased awareness among policymakers of the positive impacts of visa facilitation on tourism and economic growth.
According to the Report, 62% of the world’s population was required a traditional visa prior to departure in 2014, down from 77% in 2008. In the same year, 19% of the world’s population was able to enter a destination without a visa, while 16% could receive a visa on arrival, as compared to 17% and 6% in 2008.
The Report also shows that the most prevalent facilitation measure implemented has been “visa on arrival”. Over half of all improvements made in the last four years were from “visa required” to “visa on arrival”.
“Visa facilitation is central to stimulating economic growth and job creation through tourism. Although there is much room for improvement, we are pleased to see that a growing number of governments around the world is taking decisive steps in this regard”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Countries in the Americas and in Asia and the Pacific have been at the forefront of visa facilitation, while Europe and Middle East have more restrictive visa policies. Overall, emerging economies tend to be more open than advanced ones, with South-East Asia, East Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania among the most open subregions.
“UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, and easier visa procedures will be crucial to attract these travellers, especially tourists from emerging source markets like China, Russia, India and Brazil”, added Mr Rifai.
Myanmar claims it reached 0 to 48000 evisas in 5 months time. Their eVisa system said to incurr 17 million USD to implement according to Khin Yee - Minister of Immigration.
Source : WTO, http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/myanmar-targets-5-million-tourists-e-visa-20140901
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The winners were chosen from more than 500 companies from across the ASEAN region. The applicants went through the careful screening conducted by ASEAN BAC's strategic partner KPMG, and stringent deliberations by the panel of judges representing each of the 10 ASEAN member countries. - See more at:
Home Minister Rajnath Singh to roll out e-visa for 43 countries tomorrow
26 Nov, 2014 By PTI
NEW DELHI: Visitors from over 40 countries, including Israel, Palestine, Germany and the US, will be able to avail of the much-awaited electronic visa facility from tomorrow.
The e-visa facility for 43 countries will be rolled out by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, along with Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, tomorrow at the ITDC-managed Hotel Ashoka here, a senior Tourism Ministry official said today.
Russia, Brazil, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine, Jordan, Norway, and Mauritius, among others, would be getting the e-visa facility in the first phase.
All the 12 countries currently enjoying the visa-on- arrival (VoA) facility, including South Korea, Japan, Finland, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos will also come under the e-visa facility.
Barring a few countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, all the countries will be covered under the e-visa regime in phases, the official said.
"Mexico, Kenya, and Fiji are also being considered for being given the facility... We are promoting India as 365 days destination and Incredible India road shows are being held in many countries offering many products," the official said.
He said destinations are ranging from the magnificent Himalayas in the north to the beautiful serene backwaters of Kerala, from legendary forts of Rajasthan to world class heritage sites like Hampi in Karnataka, from exotic one-horn rhinos of Kaziranga to majestic elephant herds of Bandipur, from majestic lions of the Gir to Royal Bengal tigers of the Sunderbans, besides sprawling beaches of our long coastline.
"It would be a historic occasion for the tourism sector as we were demanding this facility for long. The launching of e-visa system for so many countries would boost the industry," said Indian Association of Tour Operators President Subhas Goyal.
All arrangements now ready and will become operational at nine international airports - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Goa, the ministry official said.
In order to get an e-visa, one would need to apply on the designated website along with the required fees. They would be granted an electronic version of the visa within 96 hours.
Source : http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/home-minister-rajnath-singh-to-roll-out-e-visa-for-43-countries-tomorrow/articleshow/45287140.cms
E-visa list for 43 nations to be announced today
Arijit Paladhi | New Delhi November 27, 2014
The list of 43 countries in the first phase of tourist-visa-on-arrival, enabled by electronic travel authorisation (ETA), will be announced on Thursday.
The countries for which this facility can be extended include Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, Mauritius, the Czech Republic, Oman, Argentina, and Kazakhstan.
Currently, India gives visa-on-arrival to travellers from Finland, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Luxembourg, Japan, and New Zealand.
Subsequently, all 180 countries that host India’s diplomatic missions, apart from Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia, will be included in the list.
The proposal for the e-visa, allowing entry of foreign tourists without a physical visa, had been announced by the previous government earlier this year.
The ETA portal has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The portal has been undergoing trial runs and sorting out glitches for over two months, said an official overseeing the launch. The software has also been integrated with the 43 Indian embassies to validate the e-visa forms of potential Indian visitors.
The ministries of home affairs, tourism and external affairs and the Intelligence Bureau have deliberated on the e-visa matter. The infrastructure support, in terms of personnel deployed, comes from the ministry of home affairs through the bureau of immigration.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in July that e-visas would be issued at nine Indian airports.
About 40 countries account for 90 per cent of foreign tourist arrivals in India. There were 5.8 million foreign tourists during January-October, a growth of seven per cent on 5.4 million a year ago.
Source : http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/e-visa-to-be-announced-for-43-countries-114112601107_1.html
IMP of The ASEAN Visa Procedure Update
November 18, 2014 by Asia Briefing
Three Important countries among ASEAN are Indonesia, Myanmar,
Philippines (IMP). These are three attractive emerging destinations
for foreign investment in ASEAN. With a combination of abundant
natural resources and cheap labor plus their investor-friendly open
market policies in these countries are projected to become some of the
fastest growing in the world.
Indonesia is a formidable raw-materials powerhouse and exports a vast
amount of global resources and ingredients. Since 2010, the government
has promoted fiscally conservative policies and lowered debt-to-GDP
ratios, which led to Fitch and Moody's upgrading its credit to
Foreigners can obtain a visa from an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate
in a foreign country or from within Indonesia itself. Foreign
investors and businessmen may apply for the following types of
Tourist visa - Lasts for 60 days and is intended for individuals
visiting friends and family, or engaging in social, cultural, or
educational exchange. There is also a subset of this visa called the
"Sosial Budaya", which can be sponsored by an Indonesian citizen.
Business visa - Intended for foreigners seeking to perform business
activities in Indonesia (those seeking employment must apply for a
work visa under the same subset). Applicants may apply for single or
multiple-entry types of varying length and are required to have data
from their company available upon submission of the application.
RELATED: East Java Attracts Second Largest Amount of FDI in Indonesia
Additionally, the Indonesian government declared that nationals of 11
countries and territories are eligible for a "Visa-Free Short Visit"
of 30 days. These countries and territories are: Brunei Darussalam,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong SAR,
Macao SAR, Chile, Morocco and Peru. The Visa-Free stay may not be
extended and requires a valid passport with at least 6-months
remaining before expiration.
"We understand Thailand agreed to visa-free facilitation at
international airports, but not overland checkpoints, which was part
of the proposal from our side," he was quoted by TTR Weekly as saying
at a tourism conference.
Finally, Indonesia offers VOAs for nationals of 63 countries. VOAs are
distributed at 20 Indonesian airports and 18 seaports to arriving
individuals. The full list of eligible countries and entry-points is
accessible at any Indonesian Consular website.
MyanmarMyanmar's transition to a civilian government has allowed for a
significant economic overhaul aimed at attracting foreign businesses
and investment. With steady growth and a stream of foreign cash,
Myanmar's integration into the global economy is expected to be fast
To enter Myanmar, a foreigner can obtain a visa from within Myanmar,
or from a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate in a foreign country.
Foreigners may apply for any of the following types of visas:
Transit Visa - Myanmar offers a Visa on Arrival (VOA) service: a
transit visa lasts for 24 hours and is given to individuals who do not
have the time for a formal application before entering Myanmar
Entry Visa - Lasts for a duration of 28 days and is intended for
individuals visiting for pleasure or tourism. Can also be used to
attend events, workshops, and meetings.
Business Visa - Lasts for a duration of 70 days and is granted to
applicants coming from business organizations, or to foreign investors
seeking to establish a business. Multiple entry types are available.
RELATED: Asian Businesses Outpacing the West in Race for Myanmar
Tourist and business visas can be extended for a maximum of two weeks
upon completing an extension application. To be successful, a letter
of endorsement from the Myanmar Ministry of Hotel and Tourism is
As of September 2014, the Myanmar government also introduced an online
visa application system to expedite the visa process. Citizens of 43
countries will be able to use the e-Visa website to apply for a
transit visa and will be sent an e-Visa barcode which can be shown at
the departing airport.
PhilippinesThe Philippines' economy is consistently ranked as one of
the most secure and financially reliable in Asia. With a diverse range
of industries and foreign workers in medical, technical, clerical,
sales, and administrative fields, foreign investors should pay special
attention to this island country.
In order to receive a Philippine visa, a foreigner must submit an
application to a Philippine Embassy or Consulate. Individuals short on
time may also request agencies to submit applications on their behalf.
A Philippine visa can be granted in a foreign country or in the
Foreign tourists may apply for the following visas:
Tourist visa - Intended for foreign tourists seeking to perform the
activities mentioned above. Requires multiple entries and can allow
stays of up to 60 days.
Non-immigrant visa - A pseudo-combination visa that is granted to
those performing activities in business, foreign investment,
employment, training, or study within the Philippines. Duration of
visa varies according to nature of visit.
Quota immigrant visa - A special visa that is provided to applicants
with significant financial capital, specific professional skills, or
qualifications that can benefit the national interests of the
Philippines. Duration of visa varies according to the merits of the
RELATED: A Guide to New Visa Regulations in Asia-Pacific
The Philippines also allows non-resident foreign nationals interested
in long-term employment within the country to register for an Alien
Employment Permit. Depending on the terms of the contract, the
Department of Labor and Employment may or may not accept the
Additionally, nationals from a list of various countries are eligible
to enter the Philippines without a visa and stay for a period of up to
30 days. Brazilian and Israeli nationals may stay without a visa for a
period up to 59 days. Finally, individuals holding Macau or Hong Kong
passports may stay seven days without a visa. The full list of
countries can be found on the Philippine Department of Foreign
Source : http://www.asiabriefing.com/news/2014/11/visa-procedures-myanmar-philippines-indonesia/#sthash.NTHKBids.dpuf
Burma Still to Sign Visa-Free Travel Deals With Four Asean Countries
Monday 16 of June 2014
Visa-free travel into Burma for all citizens of Asean, the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations, should be implemented by the end of this
year, the country's tourism industry chief said.
Burma has already signed visa-free agreements with five of the 10
Asean members, but negotiations have still to be finalized with four
other countries, including neighbor Thailand, said tourism federation
secretary-general Kyi Thein Ko.
Burma is current chairman of Asean and the aim is to achieve visa-free
travel across the 10 member countries by the time Naypyidaw hands over
the chairmanship in January, he told regional travel trade publication
Next year is also supposed to herald the beginning of the Asean
Economic Community, a European Union-style open trading market.
Burma has signed visa-free agreements with Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam
Philippines and Brunei, but has still to sign with Thailand,
Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, TTR Weekly said.
The political disruption in Bangkok, the ousting of former Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the subsequent military coup has
disrupted an agreement with Thailand, said Kyi Thein Ko.
"We understand Thailand agreed to visa-free facilitation at
international airports, but not overland checkpoints, which was part
of the proposal from our side," he was quoted by TTR Weekly as saying
at a tourism conference.
Bangkok has still not resolved the issue of work visa renewals for
hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrant workers who cross the land
border in Thailand.
ASEAN Single Visa
Tuesday 28 of January 2014
KUCHING, 21 January 2014: ASEAN's may have embarked on a mission to establish a so-called "common visa", but there is still a considerable distance to cover to make it a reality, according to assessments made during tourism minsters' press briefing Monday.
It warranted a mention in the minsters' progress report, outlined at a media briefing, but only to say ministers were working closely with relevant agencies on the development of a common visa for non-ASEAN nationals and its possible implications on tourism."
Relevant agencies in this instance are immigration bureaus, national security and police. Ministers admitted privately there are still considerable hurdles to overcome to turn it into a reality.
The subject gains an airing at the annual ATF usually in the minsters' report card on activities and discussion that confirm it is still on the radar, although not an urgent must-do project before the ASEAN Economic Community kicks in 2015.
On the sidelines of the ministers press briefing, Monday, Indonesia's minister of tourism and creative economy, Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, said 2014 would see Myanmar sign off on visa free entry for all ASEAN member-country citizens. It is the last of the 10 countries to introduce visa-free travel for the region's citizens.
"That will be significant progress, we are not sure when Myanmar will complete bilateral agreements on visa-free travel, but we have been assured it will happen before ATF 2015."
Myanmar has signed bilateral agreements on visa-free travel with Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam. Thailand was supposed to be next, but Thai caretaker prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, postponed her trip to Myanmar last November when she was scheduled to sign off on the agreement.
In addition, it is understood that Myanmar has still to negotiate bilateral agreements on visa-free travel with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
""Once that process has been completed," Indonesia's tourism minister explained, "the next logical step would be to look closely at the Thailand-Cambodia single visa project that is now a pilot project... it could be extended to five of the six Mekong Region countries that all members of ASEAN."
If that project could be extended smoothly to include all five Mekong Region countries to offer a single visa for non-ASEAN nationalities, the minister believed it would become a sound platform to build an ASEAN-wide common visa.
ASEAN Common visa
Friday 14 of March 2014
ASEAN member countries have been working together to identify challenges and opportunities in developing a common visa for non-ASEAN nationals. There are still many challenges among ASEAN members that need to be overcome by considering security aspects, the lack of infrastructure and national interests of respective member countries among other things.U Htay Aung, Minister of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar
New pact allows Filipinos visa-free entry to Myanmar
Friday 6th of December 2013
MANILA, Dec. 6 -- Filipinos can now stay in Myanmar for up to 14 days without need for a visa, following the signing Thursday of an agreement between the Philippines and Myanmar.
The agreement was signed in MalacaÃ±an Palace, on the occasion of the state visit of Myanmar President Thein Sein to the country.
Signing the agreement were Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Myanmar Foreign Affairs Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.
Under the agreement, Filipino nationals holding ordinary passports are granted a no-visa entry to Myanmar for stays not exceeding 14 days.
Myanmar nationals may already enter the Philippines without a visa for up to 30 days under Executive Order 408.
Temporary visits covered by Executive Order 408 include conferences, company meetings, workshops/seminars, medical treatment, and trips of a personal nature for pleasure, such as tourism/sightseeing, visiting relatives and/or friends, recreation and amusement. (www.pcoo.gov.ph/PND (jl)
Myanmar, Vietnam to cooperate on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders
YANGON, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar and Vietnam will cooperate on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders to strengthen the existing friendly relations in all fields between the two countries, official daily New Light of Myanmar reported on Saturday.
The agreement on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders between the two nations was signed between Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in New York on Friday, the report said.
The move between the two countries desired to simplify the procedures and facilitate the traveling of citizens of the two countries.
Meanwhile, Myanmar will open all border gates to international visitors for entry and exit soon as the next phase after four gates on Myanmar-Thai border were so done recently.
Foreign visitors holding valid passport and visa will be allowed to enter and exit Myanmar through the Muse gate like Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports.
Myanmar grants different categories of visa, namely Entry Visa, Diplomatic Visa, Gratis Official Courtesy Visa, Tourist Visa, Business visa, Transit Visa and Multiple Journey Special Re-entry Visa.
PH, three nations agree to work on Asean common smart visa
05 Jun 2013
Ministers and tourism authorities of the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia have expressed their intention to collaborate with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system.
The Asean countries have signed the "Statement of Intent on Smart Visa" on Wednesday, June 5, at the 22nd World Economic Forum on East Asia currently taking place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (Burma).
ASEAN members sign letter of intent at World Economic Forum for common smart visa system
June 06, 2013
Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines yesterday signed a letter of intent during the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, being held in Myanmar, to set up a common smart visa system. The move is aimed at economic integration of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The visa will be on the lines of the Schengen visa that applies to the group of 26 European countries, and follows a call for a common visa by ASEAN leaders at Jakarta in November 2011, as per a report by Utpal Bhaskar in Mint.
Common ASEAN visa system in the making
June 6, 2013
Four ASEAN countries on June 5 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2013 held in Myanmar signed an agreement to facilitate easier travel in the region through a common smart visa system.
Tourism ministers and officials from Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines said such a visa system ï¿½ modeled after the Schengen visa that applies to the group of 26 European countries ï¿½ would help with pushing economic integration of ASEAN member countries.
Philippines, 3 other Asean countries agree to adopt common visa scheme
June 7, 2013 9:54 AM
InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS
MANILA - The Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Indonesia have agreed to develop a common smart visa system to boost tourism across Southeast Asia.
During the 22nd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, ministers and tourism authorities of the four Asean member-states said they will facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system.
Tourism ministers of the four Asean member-states have signed the "Statement of Intent on SMART Visa" during the ongoing WEF meeting taking place in Nay Pyi Taw from June 5-7.
Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines Agree to Work on ASEAN Common Smart Tourism
June 5, 2013
Fon Mathuros, Director, Media, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211;
Language of Myanmar
- Ministers and tourism authorities from Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Secretary of Tourism of the Philippines have today agreed to collaborate on a smart tourism system
- Letter of intent was signed in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, during the World Economic Forum on East Asia
- Over 900 participants from 55 countries are taking part in the meeting on 5-7 June
- For more information about the meeting, please visit http://wef.ch/ea13
- Download the Media Mobile/iPad App for the 2013 World Economic Forum on East Asia
CLMV Combining Visa to Target 25 million Tourist by 2015 - ministers.
September 20, 2012
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which form the Mekong Sub-Region agreed last week in Ho Chi Minh City to implement a Combined single visa among themselves. Thailand could even join the scheme.
Foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand signed an agreement last week to allow foreign tourists to enter either country on a single visa. The move is an effort to streamline tourism to the region. If this proves successful, it may also be adopted by Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. If that occurs, a traveler could visit all five countries on one visa. The signing moves the project along, but other regulations must be put in place before the plan is implemented, and a date has not been set.
ï¿½ Cooperate to ensure there is visitor exchange and target 25 million international trips to the four countries by 2015.
ï¿½ Exchange information on tourism planning and marketing.
ï¿½ Cooperate on joint tourism product development.
ï¿½ Assist each other on human resource development.
ï¿½ Establish the standardization of tourism services and quality improvement.
ï¿½ Cooperate on tourism investment promotion.
ï¿½ Work with third party international organisations
ï¿½ Hold annual ministerial meetings in rotation with Cambodia as the host for next year.
As well as covering the Mekong sub-region, the visa would also include Cambodiaï¿½s current tourism partner, Thailand.
The four ministers signed the CLMV Tourism Joint Cooperation Plan covering the 2013-15 period. The new plan specifies increased information exchange among the four countries as well as the development of joint tourism products that are of high quality. It also envisages joint efforts in attracting more investment into the tourism sector as well as acting together in promoting cooperation with the third parties including countries and international organizations.
Pleased with the ï¿½impressive developmentï¿½ of tourism negotiations, Minister Tuan Anh told media that combined, the four countries saw 12.3 million international travellers visit the region, a growth of 14.5 percent on 2010.
The Minister said as well as combining visas, the four Ministers were also looking towards creating new plans to increase information exchange across the four countries and develop new tourism products.
Vietnam minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh said of all the points, human resources was the most important because the quality of people skills will determine the quality of the products.
Because the four countries are developing infrastructure as well as tourism products, Mr Hoang added: ï¿½We recognise the short-comings in human resources and related problems and will put all effort to overcome the challenges.
ï¿½The four countries will invest in infrastructure and will enhance connectivity ï¿½ air and land transport. Vietnam has invested a lot and we encourage other countries to do so.ï¿½
According to Sonny AMO, owner of Tourism Myanmar Travel in Yangon, the Myanmar government is in the process of drafting Tourism Master Plan which will be submitted to the President for approval. National Level conference has just finished in Naypyidaw, finalizing the action points - amending some rules, especially on land-ownership periods, Home Stay and to welcome tourism investment. However Tourism sector is not a top priority in Myanmar. It is far behind Oil and Gas, Fishery, Mining and Agriculture.
The opening up of Myanmar gives countries like Laos and Cambodia some concerns about competition for tourists. That pristine nation has everything for tourism, especially a charming culture such as the wearing of sarongs by men, pristine islands of Mergui Archipelago.
He is concerned that the cooperation also bring human resource problems such as foreign companies over powering and taking the jobs of locals. For example Foreign Companies forming their own tour companies under Myanmar Citizen Name to exploity all the benefits of being a local company and foreigner guides replacing Myanmar guides. He urged governments to work together to have a balanced development across the region. Myanmar's inconsistent rules and regulations in Tourism sector is also hurting Myanmar's image, he said.