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Cambodia: Three-Year Visas to Be Launched in September

(Aug. 23, 2016) It was reported on August 19, 2016, that the Cambodian government will allow foreigners to stay in Cambodia on a new, three-year multiple entry visa. (Cambodia to Introduce Three-Year Visas Next Month, BANGKOK POST (Aug. 19, 2016).) According to Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, the visa application will be available from September 1 “to foreigners from all countries, … with different prices according to the length of stay.” (Id.) Information on the pricing was not yet available.

At present, tourists from the ten-member ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries are granted visas for visits of from 14 days to a month, while tourists from other parts of the world, such as the European Union and the United States, may apply for visas good for a month. Businessmen and women can currently renew a visa for a period of one month, three months, six months, or up to a year. (Id.; ASEAN Member States (last visited Aug. 22, 2016).)

Ho Vandy, Secretary-General of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, a private organization, stated that the visa extension measure is aimed at boosting the country’s tourism sector. “It is a strategy,” he said, “to make the target [of seven million tourists] come true after the private sector and government work together.” (Cambodia to Introduce Three-Year Visas Next Month, supra.) Cambodia is seeking to attract at least 7.5 million foreign tourists by 2020, among them two million Chinese and 300,000 Japanese, based on the Cambodia Tourism Marketing Strategy 2016-2020. (Id.)

According to Khon, the strategy was drafted to draw even more potential Chinese tourists, in particular, to Cambodia, because “[t]he number of Chinese tourists visiting the country is increasing every year.” (New Tourism Strategy to Focus on Chinese Market, KHMER TIMES (Jan. 26, 2016).) To accommodate the anticipated numbers of Chinese tourists and to improve the skills of local tourist operators who handle Chinese clients, Cambodia also recently established the China Ready Center.(Cambodia Establishes Center to Woo Tourists from China, CHINA.ORG.CN (June 30, 2016).) Khon also commented that the strategy “will focus on competitiveness by intensifying promotion and marketing, diversifying tourism products, increasing investment in tourism, training staff, upgrading and expanding facilities, services and destinations, ensuring cleanliness and enhanced environmental protection, expanding connectivity, protecting heritage sites, and ensuring safety and security … .” (New Tourism Strategy to Focus on Chinese Market, KHMER TIMES (Jan. 26, 2016).)