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Asians favour single ASEAN visa

October 30, 2013

The vast majority of people in Asia are in favour of a single visa system across the ASEAN region, a new survey has found.

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The study, conducted by travel search site Skyscanner, found that 81% of people would welcome an EU-style single visa system across the Southeast Asian bloc. This came from a sample group of 7,000 people from Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, India and China.

In addition to support for a common visa system across Southeast Asia, a visa reciprocity system between countries also gained the support of 87% of respondents.

The study also illustrates the extent to which visa requirements influence the holiday choices of Asian travellers, with three-quarters admitting that their choice of destination was “often dictated by visa requirements”. An overwhelming 90% of Chinese respondents stated this option.

The survey also suggests that many travellers find visa application processes complex, with one in 10 saying they had made errors with applications and a further 9% saying they had had a visa application rejected.

The ASEAN region is currently moving towards a system of visa-free intra-ASEAN travel for member nations, which is expected to be realised in 2015. Meanwhile individual countries are making their own arrangements to boost their tourism sectors, including joint tourist visas and bilateral travel agreements. Thailand and Cambodia currently offer a single tourist visa, with Laos and Cambodia reported to be considering joining the scheme. And earlier this month Thailand unveiled plans to offer visa-free travel to Chinese tourists, in an effort to capitalise on the surging number of Chinese visiting the country.

The Indian government also recently announced plans to extend its visa-on-arrival services to 40 countries.

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