Thailand Mulls Easing Visa Regulations to Attract Indian and Chinese Tourists
Thailand Mulls Easing Visa Regulations to Attract Indian and Chinese Tourists

With the goal of bolstering the tourism sector to a nearly $100 billion target next year, Thailand is considering the relaxation of visa regulations for travelers from India and China, while also extending the duration of stays for visitors from all across the globe. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin engaged in discussions with executives from Thailand Pcl and various airlines to explore potential strategies.

In a recent post on X (formerly known as Twitter), PM Srettha announced, "The airport management has agreed to streamline operations to increase flight capacity by 20% and explore methods to expedite the immigration clearance process."

The newly established government aims to elevate foreign tourist revenue to 3.3 trillion baht in the coming year, viewing the travel industry as a highly effective short-term economic stimulus, as stated by the Prime Minister.

Statistics from the Bank of Thailand reveal that tourism contributes to approximately 12% of the country's gross domestic product and supports almost one-fifth of the nation's employment opportunities.

China, which constituted the largest group of visitors prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, has been hindered this year due to a visa application procedure that is both expensive and cumbersome. This situation has negatively impacted visitor numbers.

Conversely, travelers from India are currently required to pay 2,000 baht ($57) for a 15-day visa upon arrival. Prime Minister Srettha expressed his intention to broaden the list of countries eligible for visa exemption and extend the permissible duration of stays for most international travelers, implementing either 15-day or 30-day limits for numerous nationalities.

Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, the president of the Phuket Tourism Association, urged for the elimination of visa application fees as a preferable option compared to granting visa exemptions to visitors from China and India. He remarked, "Removing visa fees would swiftly benefit tourism. Visitor numbers to Phuket up until July reached approximately 70% of the pre-pandemic figures, but the recovery rate for Chinese arrivals stands at only 30%."

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