According to the Thai Travel Agents Association, a plan to waive visas for citizens of Thailand and Myanmar & benefit two-way tourism will be applied.

Under ASEAN membership rules all 10 countries are supposed to allow visa-free travel for the group’s citizens. Myanmar is the last of the member countries to comply with the rule.

In late October, the Thai Cabinet approved their side of a draft agreement on visa exemption with Myanmar and once Myanmar has completed its formalities the two countries will be ready to sign. The signing ceremony should take place this December when the two premiers meet at the opening of the SEA Games.

This new visa exemption will be valid for 14-day trip leisure only and for citizens of the two countries who enter at designated airports. Visa-free travel does not extend to overland travel. Once the bilateral accord is signed, it will be applied to departures and arrivals at 23 airports in Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi; Don Mueang; Chiang Mai; Chiang Rai; Hat Yai; Phuket; Nan; Phitsanulok; Mae Sot; Mae Hong Son; Khon Kaen; Nakhon Ratchasima; Udon Thani; Ubon Ratchathani; Krabi; Trang; Narathiwat; Ranong; Surat Thani; Hua Hin; Samui; Sukhothai; and U-tapao. However, the two countries reserve the right to deny entry to certain citizens or reduce their stay without having to inform them of the reasons.

The agreement could also be suspended for security and public health reasons by informing the other country at least 15 days in advance. It can be annulled by either country through a notice presented through diplomatic channels at least 60 days in advance.

This good sign will provide greater convenience for Thai and other ASEAN travelers who already visit the country frequently to have easier access to the main destinations in Myanmar such as Mandalay & Yangon. Once visa-free travel is allowed, the cost of travel will be decreased. Also, tourists now can save time, expense and enjoy better air travel as many flight services have been kicked off to Myanmar recently.

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