“ASEAN Businesses Await the Unveiling of a Unified Visa Policy”

The ASEAN region is a treasure trove of diverse cultures and natural wonders, and with the six-nation visa initiative, international tourists can easily unlock this exciting travel destination. This innovative scheme allows visitors to seamlessly explore the participating countries with ease, opening up a world of unique experiences. From vibrant cities to pristine beaches and ancient temples, the ASEAN region offers something for everyone, and this visa initiative is the key to unlocking these incredible adventures.


Vietnamese businesses are eagerly anticipating a game-changing development: the creation of a common visa zone that will allow foreign visitors to seamlessly enter all six Southeast Asian countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand – with a single visa application.

Boosting Tourism Appeal

A group of international travelers captures memories at Lady Mu Pagoda in the enchanting Hoian Ancient Town. Hoian is renowned for its well-preserved architecture and vibrant cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for travelers exploring Southeast Asia. Photo: Nguyen Anh

Tourism experts have hailed Thailand’s six-nation visa initiative as a golden opportunity for Vietnam’s tourism industry to flourish. By leveraging this initiative, Vietnam can significantly increase international arrivals and enhance its overall competitiveness in the region. However, to seize this opportunity, the industry must focus on self-improvement and innovation.

Pham Phuong Anh, General Director of Viet Media Travel Corp, a leading travel agency specializing in inbound tourism, draws parallels between the success of European tourism and the Schengen visa policy. The Schengen Agreement allows tourists to move freely across 27 countries, and a similar open-border policy among the six ASEAN countries will undoubtedly benefit Vietnam’s tourism sector. With a common visa, international visitors will have greater flexibility and motivation to explore all that Vietnam and its neighboring countries have to offer.

The enchanting lanterns of Hoi An Ancient Town illuminate the night, creating a magical atmosphere that captivates visitors from all over the world. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a highlight for many travelers exploring Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Anh

Vietnam is strategically positioned to benefit from this initiative, with its extensive network of 10 international airports and well-connected flight routes throughout the country. Phuong Anh emphasizes the importance of tourism enterprises refreshing their product offerings, developing new tours with carefully curated itineraries, and collaborating to promote unique tourism specialties that showcase the best of Vietnam.

“Should this policy come into effect, it is imperative that the tourism sector acts swiftly to implement supporting policies that guide and empower tour operators, restaurants, and hotels to make the most of this opportunity,” she advises.

Nguyen Minh Man, Director of Marketing and Communications at TST Tourist, shares a similar sentiment. He predicts that the joint visa scheme will foster favorable conditions for Vietnam to strengthen its regional and international connections. This trend towards connectivity is gaining momentum worldwide, and it will help Vietnam overcome the challenges it currently faces in attracting international travelers due to restrictions in its visa policy.

Bat Trang Ceramic Village, located near Hanoi, is a beloved destination for travelers seeking authentic cultural experiences. Visitors can try their hand at traditional pottery techniques and take home unique, handcrafted souvenirs. Photo: Bat Trang Ceramics Museum

Nguyen Tran Hoang Phuong, Acting Director of the Institute for Social Tourism Research, highlights Vietnam’s strategic location at the heart of the region and its reputation as one of the “canteens of Asian tourism.” With a vast network of seaports and diverse destinations, Vietnam captivates international visitors with its rich cultural and natural attractions. Additionally, the country’s well-developed road, rail, and water transport infrastructure facilitates easy travel to and from neighboring countries. The common visa regime, therefore, becomes a powerful catalyst for Vietnam’s tourism development, encouraging longer stays and higher spending.

Embracing Technology

Duong Duc Minh, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Research Institute for Tourism and Economic Development, underscores the transformative potential of the common visa policy. Once implemented, it will not only enhance regional competitiveness but also facilitate the creation of transnational tours and routes within Southeast Asia. This will result in a new wave of visitors to Vietnam and other countries in the region, characterized by longer stays and higher spending. Seamless mobility will be a game-changer for travelers, making it easier than ever to explore the diverse offerings of Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is renowned for its warm hospitality, but there is a growing need for high-quality tourism products to retain international visitors and ensure repeat visits. Photo: Amanda Clarke

The common visa policy will also strengthen the cohesion of the Southeast Asian community in terms of policy and strategy, elevating the region’s status on the world stage. Additionally, it will facilitate greater connectivity between Vietnamese localities and enable multinational companies to operate tours and routes more efficiently.

“Synchronizing Vietnam’s tourism data with that of the other five countries is crucial to ensuring the success of this initiative,” Minh emphasizes.

Vietnamese companies can play a pivotal role by designing inbound tours that showcase the best of Vietnam and seamlessly extend into neighboring countries like Laos and Cambodia. By removing barriers and facilitating the development of cross-border tours, the initiative will open up a world of possibilities for travelers eager to explore the richness and diversity of Southeast Asia.

Foreign visitors are captivated by the majestic beauty of Ponagar Tower, located in the coastal city of Nha Trang. This ancient tower, built between the 7th and 12th centuries, is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Cham people. Photo: David Nguyen

The potential impact of this initiative is significant. In 2023, the six ASEAN countries collectively received 70 million foreign visits. With the new visa agreement in place, Vietnam’s tourism industry can expect a substantial influx of inbound visitors, creating a “bumper crop” effect.

While Vietnam has been working to attract tourists from distant markets such as Europe, Australia, and the US, the initiative presents an opportunity to tap into the existing tourist base already traveling to neighboring Asian countries. By signing relevant international treaties or agreements on common visas, Vietnam and its partners can allow their citizens to use ID cards instead of passports when traveling within the common visa zone, further streamlining the travel experience.

According to Vietnam’s National Assembly, ASEAN countries are actively working towards unifying travel documents. They are striving for an intra-bloc free movement agreement, similar to that of the European Community. This means that Vietnamese citizens may soon be able to use their ID cards to travel within the ASEAN region, making cross-border travel more accessible and convenient than ever before.

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