Thailand’s new Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, is looking to boost tourism revenue by easing visa rules for Chinese and Indian travelers and allowing longer stays for visitors from all countries.

Key Takeaways

  • Thailand’s Prime Minister plans to ease visa rules for Chinese and Indian travelers and extend stay limits for visitors from all nations in order to boost tourism revenue.
  • The return of Chinese tourists to Thailand has been slower than expected due to stringent e-visa requirements and China’s worsening economic conditions.
  • The Phuket Tourism Association suggests adding flights, extending visas for tourists from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and scrapping visa application fees to attract more international visitors.

The current visa application process for Chinese tourists is costly and cumbersome, while Indian travelers have to pay for a visa on arrival. The government aims to increase revenue from foreign tourists to 3.3 trillion baht next year.

However, the return of Chinese visitors has been slower than expected due to stringent e-visa requirements and China’s economic woes. The tourism sector is calling for additional measures such as adding flights and lengthening visas to attract more tourists.

In response to the call for additional measures to boost tourism, the Thai government is considering various strategies. One potential solution is to streamline the visa application process for Chinese tourists, making it more affordable and convenient. By implementing this change, Thailand aims to attract a larger number of Chinese visitors who are currently deterred by the cumbersome procedures and costs associated with obtaining a visa.

Nomura Holdings Inc. predicts that foreign-tourist arrivals will reach approximately 30 million in 2023, a significant increase from 11.2 million in the previous year. As of Tuesday, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has reported a total of 17.5 million foreign-tourist arrivals.

Despite China being the largest source of travelers last month with nearly 420,000 visitors, the return of Chinese tourists to Thailand has been slower than expected. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic, about 28% of the record 40 million foreign arrivals to Thailand were from China, contributing to approximately 1.9 trillion baht in revenue.

Furthermore, the government is examining the option of extending visa durations for tourists from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. These countries have shown a growing interest in visiting Thailand, and by allowing longer stays, the country hopes to enhance their tourist experience and encourage them to explore different regions. In addition, the proposal to waive visa application fees is being considered, as this would remove an additional financial burden for international visitors, making Thailand a more attractive destination.

The Phuket Tourism Association has also suggested increasing the number of flights to cater to the rising demand for travel to Thailand. A boost in flights would offer travelers greater flexibility in planning their trips and make it easier to access various parts of the country. By expanding flight routes and increasing capacity, Thailand can enhance its connectivity with different regions and accommodate the growing influx of tourists.

By simplifying visa rules, extending stay limits, and exploring options to enhance accessibility, the country aims to create a more welcoming environment for tourists from around the world. These efforts are part of a comprehensive strategy to achieve the target of 3.3 trillion baht in revenue from foreign tourists next year, contributing to the overall growth and development of Thailand’s economy.

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