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Thai multiple entry visa to have knock on effects for Cambodia's tourism industry

From October 2015 travellers booking holidays in Thailand will have the option to apply for a Thai multiple entry visa. The visa is expected to make travel to Thailand more attractive for holidaymakers from China, India and key Western markets. Cambodian officials have spoken out in favour of the move as they want their government to take example and adopt a more relaxed approach towards visa applications and fees.

Thai multiple entry visa to have knock on effects for Cambodia's tourism industry

In an effort to boost the number of travellers booking holidays to Thailand, local officials have announced that as of October 2015, travellers will be able to apply for a Thai multiple entry visa.

The visa application will reportedly cost just over $140 USD compared to $28 USD for a single entry visa. If successful in their application, holidaymakers will be able to enter Thailand multiple times during the six month period for which the visa will be valid.

In 2014, Thailand welcomed 24.8 million visitors and not wanting to rest on their laurels, officials have set their sights on boosting this figure to 29 million visitors in 2015. The new multiple entry visa is expected to contribute to an increase in arrivals, particularly in the case of markets like China and India as well as those Western countries which are not among the list of 40 countries that currently benefit from Thailand’s visa waiver programme.

Thailand however, is not the only country set to benefit from the introduction of the new Thai multiple entry visa with Cambodian officials such as Tith Chantha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism along with other tourism stakeholders stating that they expected to see a positive knock on effect for Cambodia’s tourism industry. According to the president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, Ang Kim Eang:

“A country like Cambodia will benefit because [holidaymakers] will come to visit Cambodia after visiting Thailand. People who provide direct and indirect services in Cambodia will receive more income through tourists paying for food, services and accommodations.”

Thailand and Cambodia have, in recent months, embraced the advantages of their close proximity with the countries establishing their “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” joint tourism campaign in June. Under the terms of that campaign travellers could visit both destinations using a single visa. However, the Thai multiple entry visa will not simultaneously grant travellers multiple entries into Cambodia.

Cambodia’s private sector, which has been lobbying for a discount or waiver of Cambodia visitor visa fees, is hopeful that Thailand’s more relaxed visa policy may entice the Cambodian government to rethink its position on visa fees so that Cambodia can further boost its own arrivals.

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