BANGKOK – Thailand and Cambodia agreed on Wednesday to implement a single visa agreement, which will enable tourists to obtain one visa to visit both countries from tomorrow, Dec 27.
The visa would allow visitors from 35 countries, listed below, to stay up to 60 days in Thailand and 60 days in Cambodia. Tourists would be able to apply for the visa at embassies of either country.
The agreement comes under the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs) framework.
Acmecs, which was initiated by Thailand and set up in 2003, is a joint development agreement olving Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Foreign ministers of the five countries have discussed single visas several times, but Thailand and Cambodia were the first to sign an agreement, five years ago, and are the first countries to implement the scheme.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said this single visa will help promote tourism in the two countries, making it easier for visitors to obtain visitors and travel between Thailand and Cambodia.
The Acmecs Single Visa pact was signed by Mr Surapong and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong at the 8th meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC) at a Bangkok hotel on Wednesday morning.
The 35 countries previously announced, but not confirmed today, are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Other issues discussed at the meeting included making a feasibility study to upgrade Highway 48 linking the region and a new border checkpoint at Baan Nong Ian in Sa Kaew province in Thailand and Stung Bot in Cambodia.
Mr Surapong said the State Railway of Thailand will build a railway between Klong Luek in Thailand and Poi Pet in Cambodia to facilitate the increasing trade and travel in the area.
A source said Bangkok and Phnom Penh also agreed to set up a joint working group to take care of the rosewood smuggling problem along the border. The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry of Thailand and Forestry Ministry of Cambodia will take the lead on this issue.
Cambodia has proposed patrolling the border. Thailand will ask related agencies for opinions, the same source said.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong said the successful discussions came from the new chapter of good relationships between the two countries, and from the two prime ministers’ wish to see it succeed.
Trade volume increased more than last year and the two countries have agreed on a target of a 30% increse each year, said Mr Hor Nam Hong.