Six-Nation Visa Could Lure Bali Tourists Across Southeast Asia

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One of Bali tourists’ biggest gripes at the moment is that visa-free travel has been replaced with the paid-for visa on arrival.

This visa is easily accessible to travelers from over 95 countries and costs just IDR 500,000, but Indonesia’s ASESN neighbors have a plan that could lure Bali tourists further across Southeast Asia.

Six-Nation Visa Could Lure Bali Tourists Across Southeast AsiaSix-Nation Visa Could Lure Bali Tourists Across Southeast Asia

ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and its member states include Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Together, these ten stats make up the third-largest market in the world.

Fun fact: If ASEAN nations were a single country, they would be the seventh largest economic power on earth. 

In order to boost this economy further, some ASEAN nation-states are proposing the creation of a single visa that tourists from all around the world could apply for.

This single visa for ASEAN travel would allow tourists to seamlessly travel between the sites, saving time for both tourists and the authorities and resources. 

A single visa for ASEAN travel would help create more jobs and boost tourism across the region. However, the idea might not be as easy to implement in practice as it sounds in theory.

Each the ASEAN ten nation states have their own very specific visa regulations and immigration policies and a very different relationship with tourism too. 

The idea is being spearheaded by Thailand who wanted to see tourism in the country and the region more broadly promoted to bring in more long-haul an higher spending tourists. A mission not dissimilar to Bali. 

The Thai Prime Minster Srettha Thavisin is keen to get the program up and running with Thailand’s immediate neighbors, which would allow for border-free travel between Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Malaysia.

In 2023, these six countries combined welcomed 70 million international tourists, over ten times the number that Bali received. Notably, Thailand and Malaysia received more than half that number and generated upwards of USD 48 billion in revenue. 

It seems that many leaders in government and industry are on board with the plans. Speaking to reporters, the ex-president of the Thai Hotels Association, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, explained, “A common visa could entice long-haul travelers to make an easier decision.”

However, she shared that a 90-day visa validity would be necessary, rather than the standard 30 days, to further encourage meaningful and further-reaching travel.

If the visa is less than IDR 500,000 or provides better value than the Indonesian visa on arrival, the Bali lovers could be lured to new destinations across the region.

Though the proposed policy is not without it’s skeptics. Professor of politics at the Chulalongkorn University, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, suggested that the new policy may not be the best move for the new Thai Prime Minister.

He said “All the various things he’s been trying to do, I see it as picking low-hanging fruits and picking fruits off the ground. Sometimes fruits on the ground are rotten.”


What could an ASEAN single visa mean for Bali tourists? At the moment, there would be no direct impact on the Bali tourist visa application process since the ASEAN visa is really being developed with Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar in mind.

However, it does open up the possibility of a dialogue between all ten ASEAN nations and a visa that could allow borderless travel across the region.


Across Southeast Asia there is a push to develop more sustainable tourism initiatives to attract more longer-staying, higher-paying tourists and move further away from Southeast Asia as a backpackers destination travelers on a shoestring budget. 


In the meantime, Indonesia continues to implement improvements to its immigration policies and procedures to help make the visa process as simple and efficient as possible for the widest range of foreigners possible.

In the last year, Indonesia has made vast improvements to the visa application website, introduced autogate facilities at Bali and Jakarta Airports, and introduced a series of new visa categories to support tourists, those with families in Indonesia, businesspeople, investors, and retirees. 


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