As champagne glasses clinked and smiles spread across every face, a significant deal was brewing amidst the cordial gathering that welcomed both Thai and Kosovar delegates to the Kosovo Embassy in Bangkok last Friday. Ulpiana Lama, the diplomatic torchbearer of Kosovo in Thailand, took the center stage leading discussions on a proposal that is set to mark a significant milestone in the decade-long bond shared by the two countries.
Serving as a stark reminder of the ties that pull together the bustling streets of Bangkok and the rustic charm of Pristina, the Charge d’Affaires detailed a plan that aims to undertake an ambitious visa exemption scheme. This strategic move presents an opportunity for citizens of both the countries to witness a mesmerizing blend of divergent cultures unhampered by tedious visa procedures.
As questions buzzed around the room, Ms. Lama graciously entertained the enthusiasm. She revealed that this year being the tenth anniversary of their diplomatic ties, it was indeed a perfect time to propose an innovative initiative that will strengthen bonds and broaden horizons. Kosovo, a gem nestled in the Balkans, and Thailand have been acknowledgments of mutual respect since November 22, 2013. An accord that marked the beginning of an international camaraderie that now stands poised to evolve.
Open doors for future partnerships were a highlight in Lama’s discussion as she spoke about the benefits of the proposed scheme. “Our countries have shared a wonderful bond and this scheme is a step towards bringing people closer than ever before,” she said. The shift in approach is a significant deviation from the 2018 agreement, where visa exemption was provided only to holders of diplomatic and official passports.
As the stage is set for all passport holders to embrace this benefit, Lama ensures that their collaboration with Thai authorities is built on a foundation of strengthened norms and respected procedures. A commitment to make freedom of movement across borders a reality and not just a promising conversation.
Lama’s excitement about the new scheme was palpable as she spilled an intriguing detail about the bullish growth of Kosovo’s tourism in Thailand. “The landscape has drastically changed since 2015, we have seen a thirty-fold increase in visitors just before the jarring halt posed by the pandemic,” said Lama. She envisions Thailand holding the top spots for Kosovars seeking enriching travel experiences.
The proposal, currently under procedural review, promises a gateway into Europe for the Thai citizens. Kosovo flooded with untouched beauty and unique history, coupled with its economic advantages, notably for winter tourism, makes it an irresistible destination. With Albania, just a three-hour hop away, Kosovar hopes to attract Thai tourists seeking a regional tour. The promise of diverse cultures, shared hospitality, and an unforgettable journey awaits both nations, marking a new chapter in their flourishing relationship.