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Phl, ASEAN countries agree to work on common visa

Jovan Cerda (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2013 - 4:05pm

MANILA, Philippines - Tourism ministers and officials from Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines inked on Wednesday a deal expressing their intent to facilitate easier travel in the region through a common smart visa system, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported.

"By recognizing the importance of the connectivity in tourism activities, the statement of intent expresses our desire to give a boost to the tourism sector by facilitating the movement of tourists across borders; by going towards a smart visa through adopting best practices and maximizing the use of technology to reduce the inefficiencies of the traditional visa application process,” Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. said.

The various state officials signed the deal titled “Statement of Intent on SMART Visa” at the 22nd WEF on East Asia in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The forum started today and will end on June 7.

U Htay Aung, union minister of hotels and tourism of Myanmar, said the statement of intent is part of joint efforts to improve integration in the region through the elimination of barriers to the movement of tourists.

"Considering that tourism is a priority sector under the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Community and that it constitutes a significant contribution to the integration of ASEAN countries, it is important to be ‘smart’ about visa facilitation for travel," Mari Elka Pangestu, minister of tourism and creative economy of Indonesia said.

ASEAN countries are expected to benefit from the new visa system through growth in the tourism sector, increased investments in the industry and job creation.

ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS EAST ASIA ECONOMIC COMMUNITY INDONESIA AND THE PHILIPPINES MARI ELKA PANGESTU MYANMAR NAY PYI TAW PHILIPPINE TOURISM SECRETARY RAMON JIMENEZ STATEMENT OF INTENT TOURISM U HTAY AUNG
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