China’s province of Yunnan was participating for the first time to the TTM+. The province wants to be more integrated with Mekong packages. However, it will have to work out a simpler procedure for visas…
BANGKOK - It took a decade for the Chinese province of Yunnan to be back with a booth at the Thailand Travel Mart.
The Province is in fact dreaming of getting more benefits of the rapid development of tourism in the Greater Mekong subregion to which the Province is a member as well as Guangxi, a province bordering Vietnam.
Yunnan Province Tourism Development Committee deputy general director, Wen Shuqiong, explained during a press conference Thursday, that it was the first time for Yunnan to participate at the annual event in its current format and that the province wanted now to capitalize on its status as a gateway to the ASEAN.
Yunnan is in fact the best connected to ASEAN. It is part of the network of trans-Asian highways linking the province to Laos, Thailand up to Singapore. “Travellers can already come by car to Kunming and Yunnan”, indicates Mrs. Shuqiong. Yunnan is looking especially at attracting travellers from the West who are looking for culture and ecotourism. While considerable efforts have been done to link better Yunnan to the rest of ASEAN with highways as well as a brand new airport, the visa issue remains a major handicap to integrate the destination to a region of borders get increasingly easy to cross. So far, the idea of creating a common visa for the six Mekong countries had not found the slightest echo within the Chinese government.
“Ideally we would like to see if they could be a possibility to have a special visa for travellers visiting the Mekong sub-region. We could then promote us more actively with other GMS countries to the rest of the world with the rest of the GMS”, says Mrs. Shuqiong. Yunnan Tourism Development Committee is currently seeking to talk to Yunnan governor to see if a special regulation could eventually be adopted by the Chinese central government. Over 200 million of domestic trips are recorded to Yunnan every year.
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