JAKARTA (Xinhua) — The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) will adopt a visa-free policy for non-ASEAN tourists to increase tourist arrivals in the region, an official said here on Wednesday.

S. Puspanathan, deputy secretary general of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, told reporters that the bloc has set up a committee for the purpose.

“That will take some time. But, we have set up a committee to study how to do this. But we need to make sure each country is prepared and then we can come up with some arrangements,” said Puspanathan.

After that, he added, the committee will make a recommendation.

According to Puspanathan, the main consideration of the policy is that it will benefit ASEAN as more people will come to the region.

“More tourists coming and spending money mean more employment. And more non-ASEAN people will know about ASEAN,” said Puspanathan.

He said that for some member countries, tourism is a very important industry.

“For Cambodia and Laos, for example, tourism is very important,” he said. Currently, he said, visa-free policy is only a bilateral policy between ASEAN member countries based on ASEAN Framework Agreement on Visa Free for ASEAN Nationals.