A Lao government delegation visiting the Kingdom’s capital last week anticipates that a joint visa scheme that would allow entry to both countries on a single visa will take at least two to three years to implement.
Manoxay Vilayhane, second secretary at the Lao embassy in Cambodia told the Post on Thursday that a Lao delegation was in Phnom Penh to meet with the department of foreign affairs to discuss the scheme, but that it would still be years before it was introduced.
“It will take some time to implement the single visa scheme, because of a lack of experience and infrastructure,” he said. “I don’t know exactly [when it will be introduced], maybe two or three years.”
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon was positive that discussions are progressing but was not aware of the visiting Lao delegation. Nevertheless, he welcomed the prospect.
“We welcome any ASEAN members to join the single visa policy,” he said. “If Laos is ready we are happy to work on this together.”
When asked about the visiting Lao delegation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong declined to comment.
The delegation arrived in the Kingdom last Wednesday and was meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late last week to discuss how to move the joint visa project forward.
The Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy (ACMECS) has promoted a single-visa policy among its members – Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – since 2003.
A Cambodian-Thai joint visa was launched in December last year, giving tourists from 35 nations access to both countries under a single visa.