Thailand is aiming to boost its tourism industry to nearly USD 100 billion in 2024. And in a bid to do so, it might ease visa rules for visitors from India and China.
Among the top tourist destinations in the world, Thailand is also making plans to allow international travellers to stay longer in the country, with caps of 15 and 30 days.
How is Thailand planning to ensure an easier visa process for India and China?
China contributed to the largest number of international travellers before the pandemic hit in 2020. Currently, the nation’s citizens have to undergo a costly and time-consuming visa application process, writes Bloomberg. Indian passport holders, on the other hand, have to pay USD 57 as the fee for a 15-day visa on arrival. In an attempt to increase inbound travel, Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also showed interest in increasing the number of countries whose citizens can travel visa-free to the nation.
On August 28, the PM discussed some options with executives of Airports of Thailand PCL and several airlines, which were aimed towards bringing more foreign travellers in the fourth quarter — a time when tourism peaks in Thailand.
In another meeting, Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, president of the Phuket Tourism Association, suggested that scrapping application fees for travellers from India and China would be more beneficial than granting visa exemptions. “Visa fee exemptions are a ‘quick win’ for tourism,” he said, adding that while international travellers to Phuket through July had reached about 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, “Chinese arrivals recovery rate is only 30 percent,” according to Bloomberg.
Additionally, even though China contributed the most number of tourists in July, the return of Chinese travellers to the country is still slower than expected. This can be attributed to the strict e-visa requirements that were introduced in May, adds the report.
All currency conversions were done at the time of writing
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