We often hear people saying that you should jump on a bandwagon when you see one. Myanmar sure is a believer! Following Japan's footsteps, Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently announced that they are planning for visa exemption for ASEAN countries starting from next year onwards. Well, we don't need a rocket scientist to figure out why Myanmar has such an idea as they in fact have a goal to hit by 2015.
Deputy Minister Tin Oo Lwin, recalled in parliamentary session on 26 August 2013 that Myanmar and Laos has signed a joint 14-day visa exemption for ordinary passport holders in 2006. Between April 2011 and May 2013, an amount of USD29 billion was reaped by the Myanmar government through the visa fee collection by its permanent missions, consulates in international countries and from its embassies.
Tin elaborated that the money collected from visa and passport related transactions will be transferred by respective offices to Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank in Euros once in every three months. The bank will then transfer the money in Kyat to relevant ministries. Last June, the government of Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines signed an agreement to develop a "smart visa" system for tourism development within the region.
At present, the Myanmar visa is obtainable by paying a fee for single-entry with 28-day validity. With the implementation of visa exemption, Myanmar will definitely be able to attract more ASEAN visitors as they can use the money for visa fee to pay for basic accommodation and local food instead.
About one month ago, Guangzhou joined in the 72 hours scheme pack and now, Chengdu is joining in the pack which is comprised of Beijing and Shanghai as well. And yes, the policy has taken effect, on the very first day of September!
Chengdu is the first inland city to adopt this visa plan as it has more international flights compared with other cities in central and Western China.According to the vice mayor of Chengdu, Mr. Fu Yonglin, the main objective of the implementation of this policy is to boost tourism and business. Overseas travellers and businessmen/women now can spend their transit hours visiting the blooming city of Chengdu.
The 72-hour Visa-free policy in Chengdu will share the same regulations with Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It covers travelers from 45 countries including Germany, Japan, Italy, UK and the USA. Foreign travellers who are eligible are entitled to apply for the 3 days visa as long as respectivetravel documents and the flight tickets which will depart to the third country from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport are in hand. There are travel agencies that tailor made itineraries to suit travellers with the 72 hours visa thus travelling around the city wouldn’t be a problem.
Do note that the 72 hour free visa policy only applies to air passengers. So, if you are planning to enter or leave China by land or sea, make sure you apply for a Chinese beforehand. For our Malaysian travellers, good news as you can apply your Chinese Visa via our services with a processing time of two weeks only! What are you waiting for?
According to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, at present, if you were a traveler, wishing to extend your stay in China, you’d have to cancel your visa, even if it hasn’t expired. Thankfully, however, this very inconvenient regulation is about to be revised. Beginning September 2013, foreigners with unexpired Chinese visa can apply for stay-time extensions, which won’t affect the validity of their existing visas, nor their original entry time. The entire process should take about 15 working days.
Travelers who submit their passports for extension processing or resident visa replacements will be given a receipt, complete with his or her photo for identification. The receipt is important, as it can be referred to by officials from other ministries as well, such as the transportation department.
The enforcement of the new policy across China, will no doubt spell more work visa department officers, especially in major cities. Since July this year, however, the officers have been provided with additional training. To reach out further to travelers, an official micro blog, called Beijing Exit-Entry Police, has been launched on September 1st on Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter).
Besides having to pack for yourself, we believe the application of visa is another one thing that travellers aren’t too fond of when it comes to travelling. Now, what do you think about visa exemption? The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has started the discussions on visa liberalisation to allow visa free travels among the member states. The SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme was launched in 1992 and there are 24 categories of persons to date that have the privilege to be exempted from obtaining a visa. Respective travellers will receive a visa sticker with one-year validity.
The current members of SAARC are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.Immigration and visa experts of all eight members were involved in the 2-days ongoing meeting which was held at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretariat in Kathmandu. The discussions centered on the expansion of visa exemption scope and according to the SAARC Secretary General, Ahemed Salim, “The meeting is expected to pave way for the smooth functioning of the SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme.”
However, there seems to be no outcome just yet from the meeting. Thus, visa applications are still necessary for travellers. Don’t be all upset now though and be sure to keep an eye on related updates.
Calling all Singapore Airlines passengers who are flying through Changi Airport. Here’s a treat for you lucky fellows - FREE $S40 voucher! Yes, that’s right, a $S40 worth of voucher for transit passengers. To be eligible for the awesome voucher, travellers MUST travel on either Singapore Airlines or Silkair.
Do note that Singapore cannot be the point of origin nor the end of your travel destination and you have to be travelling from these countries: Australia, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK. Also, both inbound and outbound flights must be of either airline. Now that you’re aware of the eligibility criteria, you are ready to redeem the voucher and of course, to use it!
To claim your $S40 voucher, present your e-ticket as well as an arrival boarding pass to any Information Counter located in the transit area of Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. The voucher can be used in heaps of shops including retail, food and services outlets. What makes this treat better is that you can use them in stacks! Unlike most vouchers where you can only put ONE to use with a single receipt, you can actually keep your vouchers (if you’re a frequent traveller that is) and use THEM for a payment.
So, if you have a ticket that is issued on 1st October 2012 – 31st December 2013 with the departure date from country of origin from 1st January 2013 to 31st December 2013, don’t miss out on your little bonus! Also, don’t forget to apply for a visa of your destination country!
Myanmar, a timeless treasure trove of diverse cultures of ethnic groups, historical stupas and photogenic natural sceneries, has moved most tourists’ hearts to unfold her veil of fascination. Following the rapid economic development, open-door foreign policy and democracy development, the visa application for tourists has become more lenient in recent years. According to the CNN Travel Online, it has recorded a rocket surplus in the number of visitors to Myanmar by 54 percent between 2011 and 2012.
As of early July 2013, the Ministry for Hotels and Tourism of Myanmar announced that the number of arrivals for the tourism purpose has increased by 30 percent in comparison with that of last year. It is also predicted that the growth will continue till the year end and the traffic will be up to 1.8 million. However, the inadequate accommodation supply in Myanmar has raised a concern on how to serve the foreign tourists in a satisfactory living condition and to keep the price of accommodation at an acceptable level among those foreign tourists.
According to the news shown on TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific in early August, the Myanmar Minister for Hotels and Tourism stated that 30,000 hotel rooms are now ready for tourists and 10,000 more will be built by the year end. This volume, however, is not enough to accommodate the huge demand for more than million travellers to Myanmar. Still, the Minister does not agree on the plan of homestay in private residence or monasteries, which was proposed in early April of this year, to alleviate the stress of hotel room shortage.
Honestly speaking, no other alternative than homestay is effective and efficient to clear the current obstacle of Myanmar’s tourism. Through the homestay scheme, both foreign tourists and the hosts will not be shocked by their cultural differences on the habits of daily lives. By contrast, tourists will much more appreciate the authentic friendliness and hospitality of Burmese through their personalized services, wealth of local folk stories, culinary and unique festive or family activities prepared for their guests.
G’day fellow travellers! From the China National Tourism Administration dinner last few nights ago in Sydney, Mr. Bob Baldwin, the opposition tourism spokesman pledged on improving the visa system to welcome more Chinese travellers if elected in the upcoming Australian Federal Election.
Despite the rising Aussie dollars, the number of Chinese travellers continues on its growth. However, to further boost the rising number of Chinese travellers, a more welcoming visa system has to be done. The enhancement visa arrangement plan drawn by the Coalition involved a simpler visa process by lodging the visa electronically, encouraging multiple visits and a 24-hour turnaround for visa application with an additional fee.
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director, Ms. Felicia Mariani stated that, "Chinese visitors are our biggest spending and one of our fastest growing markets, and Australia should be building a visa system that encourages their engagement." She was happy with the initiatives stated by Mr. Baldwin and stressed on the importance of multiple entry visas for Chinese travellers.
Australia government is trying its best in updating its visa system from time to time to improve travellers’ experiences and so, completely online visa applications are available!. Yes, no sending in passports nor visiting the Australian Embassy. However, it is best to check on your Australian visa requirement as not all countries share the same requirements and privilege.
How thoughtful! In order to ease fans to be part of the almighty ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the authorities across the Tasman are considering to make a joint Australian and New Zealand visa for visitors. What is a joint tourist visa, you may ask? If you have zero idea about the current visa requirements, it means that a separate visa is needed when you visit the southern hemisphere. With a joint visa, visitors are granted access to both countries with just one visa.
According to the Chief Executive of Australian Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Ken Morrison, the teams will be playing in both Australia and New Zealand. “The first game will be in Christchurch, the final in Melbourne, with the 47 matches in between split between our two countries. We need to ensure the visiting fan can travel easily between the two.”
Even though the Australia visa is multiple-entry and unbelievably reasonable at USD20 with a 3-month validity, Morrison is aware that having to apply for two separate visas to Australia and New Zealand is too costly and time-consuming for those who are interested in catching the games live. Therefore, it is essential to create a common visa for mutual benefits.
It is believed by experts in the tourism industry that New Zealand is in greater favour of Indian cricket fans in comparison to Australia. To avoid Australia from being the secondary choice due to the visa issues, Australia and New Zealand are following the footsteps of previous countries that jointly hosted international sporting events. One good example is the harmonized visa requirements for the 2007 Cricket World Cup held in 15 Caribbean countries, one visa was all visitors need for the duration of the tournament.
To make it happen for the upcoming tournament in 2015, Morrison proposed that visitors only have to fill out one application form visas to both countries. “We need one process, one decision, one payment, but two visas,” he was quoted saying. Needless to say, the joint visa would swell figure of the visitors, especially those from India and the United Kingdom.
Named after the most famous and largest inland saltwater lake of China, Qinghai is the world’s nature reserve of wild animals and rare herbs. In the ancient time, the provincial city Xining was one of the renowned gateways to the Silk Road, which was the important trade route between China and Europe. The diverse cultures of multiethnic groups including Han, Hui, Tu and Tibetan have been therefore converged and developed over the province.
Following the years of efforts in the Northwest Economic Development Project by the Government of People’s Republic of China, Qinghai has gradually adopted the open foreign policy to the outside world. Since the inception of Qinghai-Tibet railway, the inbound tourism of Qinghai has been recorded with a significant growth. It has become one of the must-visit destinations for those indulging in the temple, mosque architecture as well as the religious cultures.
In recent months, the Xining Airport of Qinghai has gradually opened for the international flights. Since 1 August 2013, the 4-hour direct flight of Taiwan UNI Airways between Qinghai and Taiwan has been in service. Two flight schedules per week are available for the choice of travellers with valid China Entry Permit. This policy further facilitates the development of tourism over the northern regions of China.
Qinghai is not just a heaven for those endeavoured to the cultural conservation; it is also a playground for those devoted to the extreme sports. To have a thrill adventure over the semi-arid land, sport lovers can go trekking to the nomadic areas to taste the daily lives of Tibetans and Mongolians or go cycling around the Qinghai Lake. If seeing flocks of animals in a wide natural habitat will catch your eyes, take a coach trip to the Bird Island from Xining to rock your days with new-born wild birds in the spectacular landscape.
The weekly news bulletin of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, recently reported that President Vladimir Putin has asked for proposals on simplified tourist visa registrations by November 1st. While Russian authorities are yet to reveal the measures that may be taken in this direction, the nation's tour operators have already made speculations.
It is quite possible, they believe, that the paperwork involved in Russian visa applications will be reduced, as well as the time that it takes to process the visas. Improved infrastructure won't hurt as well, and authorities may even do away with visas altogether, for visitors from selected countries. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, has said time and again that an overhaul of visa procedures can't be introduced without a guaranteed reciprocal gesture from their counterparts in other countries.
As such, industry insiders speculate that it's more likely that the Government will kick things off by granting visa exemptions to those who are visiting Russia for less than 72 hours. This policy is, after all, already in place for visitors arriving via St. Petersburg's ferry boats. Since its implementation, the visa exemption is believed to have boosted tourist traffic to the city by as much as 30%. Perhaps further relaxed visa procedures will be introduced, in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, Russia in February.