Thailand lifts discriminatory regulations on Vietnamese tourists
The Department of Immigration of Sakaeo Province, Thailand, has admitted that it erred when requesting Vietnamese tourists to prove their financial means before entering the country.
On May 8, the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a note from the Embassy of Thailand in Hanoi to reply to the bureau’s diplomatic note on the unfriendly acts against Vietnamese tourists at the Thai border gate in Sakaeo Province.
The same day, officials of the Vietnam Embassy in Thailand met with the Department of Immigration of Sakaeo Province, the superior agency of the Aranyapathet border gate at which Vietnamese citizens were singled out.
According to this Department, the provisions of Thailand require foreign tourists to prove their financial ability, regardless of nationality. The department specifically cited a Ministry of Home Affairs Notification dated 8/5/2000. The entry of foreigners on tourist visas requires cash or a financial certificate equivalent to 20,000 baht, or $700 dollars. Vietnamese tourists can also present their credit cards in lieu of cash.
The Thai authorities confirmed the mistakes made at the Aranyapathet border gate. They said the offensive notices against Vietnamese travelers would be removed, and that an immediate end would be put to the practice of taking photos of Vietnamese tourists with cash.
Earlier, tourists from Vietnam and several other countries had been required to present US$700 or THB20,000 for photographs at the Arayaprathet border gate before entering the country.
The application of the regulations by Thai customs officers has been described as disrespectful and has sparked an outcry among Vietnamese travelers.
Travel operators said Thailand has the right to put Vietnamese tourists on the list of those who have to show proof of financial support, but the new regulations are unacceptable.
On May 7 the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department also asked Thailand to stop unfriendly acts made by officials towards Vietnamese citizens.
In a diplomatic note sent to the Thai embassy in Hanoi on May 7, the department denounced the new regulation as inappropriate to the cooperative spirit within ASEAN and the traditional friendship between the two governments and people. Thailand failed to inform Vietnam of the rule, it said, adding that Vietnam is the only ASEAN member nation being subjected to the regulation.
It also asked Thailand to facilitate travel between the two peoples.On May 8, head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Nguyen Manh Cuong, sent letters to the Thailand Authority of Tourism (TAT) Office in Vietnam and the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, asking for the abolition of such an irrational regulation.
Source: Pha Le