PATA warns against stricter visas amid terror

IN the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Mario Hardy, CEO of PATA hopes that countries will turn to other options such as technology than impose visa restrictions to enhance safety and security.

“One thing we don’t want to see is visa restrictions,” he said, noting that more tourists travelled to Vietnam, China and Indonesia when they eased their visa policies. Japan and South Korea are doing well too after relaxing visa policies for Asian visitors.

Hardy pointed out that Thailand is exemplary to have recovered so quickly after the Bangkok bombing in August. The country has already received 26 million visitors so far and is expected to exceed the targeted 28.8 million arrivals for end-2015.

He explained that without resorting to visa restrictions, Thailand managed to address media enquiries and deploy security forces in public areas swiftly and effectively.

He added that PATA, together with organisations like UNWTO and WTTC, are planning to meet in 1Q2016 to tackle the issue of security in relation to tourism.

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