Cambodia will extend its visa-exemption programme for four additional member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

According to Minister Thong Khon, although the visa-exemption programme for travellers from ASEAN countries results in lower national revenues, Cambodia will extend it to all ASEAN member countries from now to 2015.

The programme, which is implemented for citizens from five ASEAN countries, namely Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Laos, will be extended to Thailand in 2010, later to Indonesia, Brunei and Myanmar, Khon said.

The Tourism Ministry estimates that at least one million tourists from nine other ASEAN countries will travel to Cambodia between 2010 and 2011 under the visa-exemption programme, increasing the country’s revenues from the tourism industry to 20 million USD per year.

The increased number of arrivals would help create more jobs for Cambodian people and boost the country’s economic development, Khon said.

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism, the country has lost more than 14 million USD in revenue since January 2008, when the visa-exemption agreement with five ASEAN countries was launched.

In the first six months of 2009 alone, Cambodia honored 278,842 visa exemptions from ASEAN travellers, which resulted in a loss of 5.5 million USD in revenues. The total loss for the last year was 8.5 million USD./.