Following the announcement of the creation of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) in April 2018, much has been done to create a more integrated collaboration between ASEAN member states. Not least the creation of a seamless visa for visiting all participating locations.
Access to the Smart Cities program is one of the big advantages that can be gained from holding an ASEAN visa for Asia. This visa is due to be launched soon and will make it easier for visitors from eligible countries to visit all 10 ASEAN visa exemption countries.
The Goals of The ASEAN Smart Cities Network
The intention of creating the ASCN is to stimulate and manage the rapid development of participating cities via smart and sustainable urban development. All the cities involved in the program have very high-density populations in urban areas which are expected to grow significantly by 2030.
Therefore, the cities in ASCN are seeking to collaborate together to come up with technological solutions to improve the growth and management of these expanding urban areas. To achieve this, the ASCN cities have agreed to work together to develop their economies to meet these goals and to attract investment from the private sector to fund innovation to meet this challenge.
The hope is that these measures will help to establish better ways to make the cities function effectively and to grow more sustainably. This is also being supported by the G20, which is providing the ASCN with advice and technology to reach these goals.
Each city also allocates a national representative to attend joint meetings. Additionally, this representative is also joined by a Chief Smart City Officers (CSCO) who are selected by each member city in the program from its administrative positions. The intention of this is to give each city representation at a municipal and national level to ensure better integration between rural and urban areas and to help the program serve the wider community in each country.
Which Cities are Participating in the Smart Cities Network
In total there are 26 participating cities in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. These are found across all 10 member states in the Associate of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with between 1-4 national cities per country taking part in the program. These cities include:
- Bandar Seri Begawan
- Phnom Penh
- Siem Reap
- DKI Jakarta
- Luang Prabang
- Johor Bahru
- Kuala Lumpur
- Kota Kinabalu
- Cebu City
- Davao City
- Da Nang
- Ha Noi
- Ho Chi Minh City
How to Get An ASEAN Visa to Visit Participating Cities
When launched, applying for an ASEAN visa will only necessitate filling out an online form and registering via the internet. You will need to fit the Asia visa requirements, which are still yet to be confirmed but are expected to include:
- Submitting necessary identity documents (such as a valid passport)
- Answering some personal and security questions
- Paying an administration fee via debit or credit card
Once an application is completed and submitted, and after a short processing period, applicants are expected to receive a digital copy of the ASEAN visa to a registered email address. Visitors to ASEAN member countries need then only print out and present the visa on arrival. It is anticipated that this visa program will function in a similar way to the soon-to-be-launched ETIAS program for Europe.
When the ASEAN visa has been launched it is likely that cities in Southeast Asia will continue to grow fast thanks to the foreign tourism it facilitates, as well as the smoother travel for overseas business representatives. Therefore the ASCN is a forward-thinking and timely program to enact in advance of the expected expansion of urban centers in Asia over the next decade.