Sunday, July 17, 2016
Vietnam - Single ASEAN visa would boost tourism
Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers whether they supported an ASEAN single visa plan.
Here are some of your comments:
Khánh Lương, Vietnamese
I have travelled to many countries and I know exactly how important a visa is.
As a Vietnamese, whenever I go overseas, the first thing I think of is how to get a visa in time. Especially when I visit several different places, I must apply for many visas at the same time. Lately, I went to some European nations using only a Schengen visa. It has been very easy, convenient and safe. It is a reason I absolutely support a single visa for ASEAN.
I do not believe it will cause any problems regarding security and immigration management. In the era of information, we can manage and control everything with visa computer systems connected together. I am sure we will benefit from this issue.
In summary, from my experience and perspective, I would say this idea is realistic, applicable and useful. All members will take advantage of this opportunity to integrate and develop.
Aji Rokhadi, Indonesian, Singapore
ASEAN members have a different set of living standards and border surveillance.
Today, tourists from most developed countries do not have problems entering all ASEAN countries. These are the tourists that have more spending power. Hence, it makes no difference in terms of tourism revenue if ASEAN changes policy for a single visa and abandons its current visa policy.
On the other hand, given the gaps in living standards and foreign policies, a single visa will definitely present problems in terms of maintaining security and keeping illegal immigrants away. There are many more sensitive matters that ASEAN has to deal with among its own members, like illegal fishing, terrorism, weapons and fuel smuggling and so on. They can’t even be agreeable regarding China’s presence in the South China Sea. Therefore, I guess so many issues have to be addressed first before a single visa agreement can be applied.
Alice Rougerie, French
For me as a tourist, I think that this kind of visa would help the region a lot. First, these 10 countries would be more attractive because of less administrative things to deal with before departure.
Each time I visit a foreign country, I have two questions: are there any compulsory vaccines? And then, are there visa restrictions? If one of these questions is solved, then it could persuade me to travel in this region. We are always a bit afraid of visa procedures and administrative fees when we leave Europe!
I also think that this would promote tourism in some countries we didn’t think about going before. Ten countries are covered by this visa, and knowing that, we may discover other places, take advantage of the situation while travelling in one country to visit another. And tour operators would definitely organise new routes and new ways of travelling into this region. This will encourage concerned countries to co-operate with each other in order to make the most of the benefits tourism brings.
Talking about security concerns, I don’t think this would worsen the situation. In Europe, we have Schengen Area, which does not mean less security. We travel easily but we still have control, especially now because of the terrorist attacks. Each time there is a threat, countries are able to reinforce border controls.
Nguyễn Thùy Linh, Vietnamese
It’s quite a concern for ASEAN member countries when they will have to share data when the ASEAN single visa takes effect. But I don’t think that ASEAN would face a similar immigration situation as the EU, which consists of 28 member countries, most of them developed. ASEAN countries won’t suffer from a big wave of immigration as they are not ‘heaven like’ European countries.
I do think the single visa scheme will bring other challenges to ASEAN countries. Transnational crimes such as drug and human trafficking are a big concern once people can move freely from one country to another.
In addition, each ASEAN member has its own policy on visa exemptions. Countries like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia have visa exemptions for citizens from 100 nations while other countries like Việt Nam only have visa exemptions for citizens from about 20 nations.
No one can deny that the single visa would help promote tourism in ASEAN countries as more and more tourists would join long holidays with more expenditure. The opportunity of sharing tourists within ASEAN is possible. However, every country should focus on solving issues relating to environmental pollution as well as improve its competitiveness.
Jimmy Wilson, Australian, Melbourne
I really do support a single visa because a lot of Asian countries require a visa to enter and that is costing a fortune for a traveller like me. So I would love to see a single visa happening as soon as possible. A single visa would encourage the world to visit ASEAN member countries more often because the Asian people are lovely and friendly and the costs are cheap compared to the western world . So please make a single visa happen soon.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Hà Nội
I have been saying for years that the visa process should be simple, fast and cheap. At the same time, however, there are many undesirable and even dangerous people travelling around Southeast Asia. How will 10 different countries manage this new policy?
Recently a Canadian man bought a last minute airplane ticket on his credit card for his Thai wife to join him back home. Canada’s national airline, Air Canada, flagged the last minute purchase and denied her flight.
If I suddenly decide to fly from south Thailand to Burma and then on to Indonesia (all Muslim areas), will that raise any suspicions? If I overstay in one country will that affect my onward travel?
What about costs, renewals and work permits? As a foreigner and tourist I can envision many computer glitches and miscommunications. I once forgot to fill out all the minor details on an arrival card - too tired - and was pulled aside for secondary interrogation. Not a pleasant experience.
I predict a lot of travel agents, photocopy shops and other greedy agents will magically appear to solve and smooth out your travel plans. Yes, I support a 10 country visa. Just don’t slow me down or try to get rich off me.
Ankit Dubey, a reader
I think having a single visa system like the EU will not be safe, and as we have seen in the past with what France and Brussels have been through we can’t take any chances.
We know that the terrorist who attacked in Brussels was actually a Muslim person of France. I think it would be very dangerous.
We better have our own country visa system and let it work like it does now, just visa free or on arrival for ASEAN nationals. And also ASEAN should not give visas on arrival or E-visas or visa free entry to people coming from terrorist hub nations.
I think being safe and keeping our region and our tourists safe should be the biggest priority, and by opening doors for genuine tourists by a single visa, any culprit could misuse this system and cause harm to our nations. So I say NO TO A SINGLE VISA FOR ASEAN.