Southeast Asia set for visa-free travel

ASEAN is looking to establish a visa-free travel policy for Southeast Asia. A single visa for member states of ASEAN, beginning with Cambodia and Thailand and similar to that of the European Union, is set to be implemented by 2018.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and the area is being promoted as offering “the most diverse, beautiful, enjoyable, and accessible landscapes in the world,” according to ASEAN Tourism.

In recent years, the region has experienced increased domestic tourism and a booming economy, following the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

“We were pleased with the steady growth of the tourism sector in 2016, bringing in 6,5 per cent more international visitors when compared to 2015,” read a statement issued on Sunday by ASEAN chairman, Filipino President Rodrigo Détente.

According to a 2015 report on ASEAN.org, if ASEAN were one economy, it would be one of the largest in the world, with a combined GDP of $2,57 trillion. Tourism is a massive economic contributor.

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