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Thailand hopes for tourism link-up

Update: September, 13/2013 - 09:23
Tourism officials from Thailand are taking steps to increase tourism between the country and Viet Nam through a number of measures, including visa agreements between regional countries.— Photo ktv

HCM CITY (VNS)— Tourism officials from Thailand are taking steps to increase tourism between the country and Viet Nam through a number of measures, including visa agreements between regional countries.

Thai officials, speaking to the Vietnamese media after opening their booth at the International Travel Expo HCM City 2013 yesterday, said such measures would promote infrastructure development and cultural exchange between Viet Nam and Thailand.

"Thailand will help bring Vietnamese tourists to Thailand and more Thai tourists to Viet Nam as well, because the country has several beautiful tourist destinations, such as Ha Long Bay in the northern region," said Sombat Kuruphan, vice minister for Tourism and Sports of Thailand.

Thailand has signed an agreement with Cambodia known as the ACMECS Single Visa that enables tourists from 35 countries and territories to use a single visa when entering the two countries.

"Right now, we are in the pilot period for the cooperation project to have single visa with Cambodia," said Urairatana Naothaworn, director of Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports international affairs division.

"We are waiting for Viet Nam to join this. In a recent meeting, Thailand urged other remaining countries including Laos, Viet Nam, and Myanmar to join the scheme," she added.

She said such a visa scheme, whether joint visas or visa exemptions, would increase international visitors to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

Regarding the rise of tourists to Thailand, she said the country no longer focuses on the number of tourists but rather on the kind of tourist who visits.

"We need quality," she added. Thailand has set an annual revenue target of 2.2 trillion baht (US$70 billion) from its tourism industry.

Because Viet Nam and Thailand are members of ASEAN, it is simple for tourists from either country to visit.

"I hope in the future that tourists from third countries will be able to travel through the countries easier," she said.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand in HCM City, in the first seven months of the year, Thailand received 443,131 Vietnamese visitors, a rise of 16.31 per cent over the same period last year.

The economic slowdown in Viet Nam in the last several years has increased short-haul holidays, especially to Thailand.

Five commercial airlines and two low-cost carriers operate 112 flights per week with a capacity of 30,247 seats between Viet Nam and Thailand.

Apart from better flight connections, overland travel is becoming a favourable option because many roads cross from Viet Nam into Cambodia, Laos and end in Thailand.

Caravan travelling has become more popular as incomes have risen, with more people owning luxury cars and motorbikes.

Recently, Viet Nam and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding to target 1 million Thai and Vietnamese tourists by 2015 and increase cooperation between the tourism industries of both countries —VNS

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