5 Cities in Asia Hope to be Linked under a Single Visa
Thai government and private agencies in Chiang Rai are considering linking five cities in Thailand, Myanmar, China, and Laos under a single visa.
Planning for the user-friendly travel scheme started about two decades ago with aims to encourage travelers to cross over to these cities in the Mekong region, spurring tourism among the four countries.
Dubbed the “five Chiang cities”, it comprises of Thailand’s Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces, Myanmar’s Chiang Tung (Keng Tung), China’s Chiang Rung (Jinghong), and Laos’ Chiang Thong (Xieng Thong) aka Luang Prabang.
Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar are closer to reaching an agreement on a single visa option, but for China to come on board, more considerably lengthy talks will be required.
Thailand is hoping to add more quality tourists to its Chiang provinces.
The Association of Northern Tourism Federations president Kitti Tissakul said Thailand would reap the rewards from the scheme because Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai can benefit from the flow of Chinese tourists who are visiting the other cities.
“It will add approximately 10 percent or more than two million tourists annually,” Bangkok Post quoted Kitti as saying.
Should the plan follow through, the provinces will see an influx of South Korean, Japanese, and French tourists who visit Luang Prabang as well.
About 14 million foreign tourists visit Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai each year. Increasing the number in the “five Chiang cities” is within reach, according to Kitti.