In a bid to lure more visitors as the peak travel season draws near, Thailand has unveiled a temporary waiver of visa requirements for travelers hailing from India and Taiwan, commencing next month and stretching until May 2024.
This strategic move comes on the heels of a similar action taken in September, when Thailand removed visa stipulations for Chinese tourists, a substantial source of inbound tourists pre-pandemic, contributing to 11 million of the record-breaking 39 million arrivals in 2019.
Spokesperson Chai Wacharonke confirmed that individuals from India and Taiwan will be able to explore Thailand for a duration of 30 days without the need for a visa.
According to the latest governmental figures, Thailand has welcomed an impressive 22 million visitors between January and October 29, resulting in revenue of 927.5 billion baht, which translates to approximately $25.67 billion.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has informed the press that effective November 10th, and running through to May 10th next year, travelers from India and Taiwan will have the privilege of visa-free access to Thailand. This landmark decision emerged from a recent cabinet meeting, with the explicit goal of reinvigorating the country's tourism sector.
Recent statistics from the Tourism Authority of Thailand highlight Malaysia as the leading group of visitors this year, with over 3 million arrivals. Following closely are Chinese tourists, who were the primary contingent of travelers to Thailand prior to the pandemic, with a reported 2.65 million arrivals as of October 15.
Earlier this month, Thailand's tourism agency anticipated a surge in the number of Chinese tourists, forecasting figures between 4 to 4.4 million for the year 2023.
Furthermore, on October 24, the Sri Lankan Cabinet greenlit the issuance of free visas to nationals from India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, effective immediately and operating as a pilot project until March 31, 2024, as announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Ali Sabry. This move marks a significant shift, given India's historical prominence as Sri Lanka's primary source of inbound tourism.