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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

ASEAN single-visa scheme sought

A single visa scheme that can be used for 10 member states in ASEAN is still a pipe dream, according to Tony Katigbak, Phil Star Managing/Business Editor. But it could certainly work wonders especially in tourism. 

Having said that, the Philippines is in a very nice spot. For one, the "Pearl of the Orient" has amazing beaches, diverse culture, and beautiful sites. On top of that, the country also has educated workforce that speak English. 

Although it continues to receive international recognition, the name "Philippines" is not yet firmly fixed in the minds of tourists unlike Thailand and the Caribbeans. 

If the single visa pushes through though, it could be the country's ticket to international stardom. However, there so many things we have to do as a nation. 

"If we could only lower our energy costs, curb government corruption, and deal with traffic better I believe we could easily attract a larger number of tourists and even investors," Katigbak added.

Check out Phil Star's update about the proposed scheme.

MANILA, Philippines - Two lawmakers have filed a resolution urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to call for a single-visa scheme among the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Siblings Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Abante Mindanao Party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez co-authored House Resolution (HR) 1313 which will allow non-ASEAN nationals to enter ASEAN states using a single visa.
The proposed measure is similar to Europe's Schengen visa which allows a holder to travel to 25 member countries using a single visa.
The lawmakers said the single-visa scheme would boost the country's tourism industry, with the ASEAN Economic Community being viewed next year.
"So when you have a single-visa, the tendency for tourists, for example, is to say, I'm in Thailand but my visa is good for 10 countries, so I might as well go through all the 10," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.
The scheme would mean that the Philippines will honor visas issued by other ASEAN member countries including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Jimenez noted that getting other ASEAN countries to accept Philippine visa would mean that the country has a system at par with others and not all countries are prepared to do so.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
"Establishment of such a visa will not likely occur in the next five years due to barriers of technology, political issues, concerns of sovereignty and security and the different visa systems in the member-states," the Tourism Secretary said, noting that the scheme benefits the ASEAN Tourism Plan 2011-2015.
The resolution, meanwhile, cited an article on the Philippine Star written by Tony Katigbak entitled "United we stand, divided we fall," which discussed the repercussions of having a single-visa scheme.
"Again, much like in Europe, I think multiple countries could benefit from this as far as tourism goes. After all, if you are visiting a country with a visa and you know your visa is valid for 9 other places, you automatically think you may as well visit them too like several tourists do while in Europe," Katigbak said.


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