Proposal would see Thailand continue with relaxed entry rules for tourists
Thailand is set to continue with its major easing of entry rules in a bid to further boost tourism throughout 2023.
Since October 1 2022, tourists eligible to enter Thailand with a visa exemption have been able to stay in the country for up to 45 days – an increase from the previous 30 days.
In addition, tourists entering Thailand under the Visa on Arrival (VOA) program have been able to stay in the country for 30 days – an increase from the previous 15 days.
Currently a total of 64 countries are eligible for visa exemption, including the UK, USA, Germany, Singapore, Canada and others, while VOA is the visa class of choice for tourists visiting from countries such as India and China.
The current visa exemption / VOA policy is due to end on March 31, but according to Governor Yuthasak Supasorn the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will propose the policy be extended until the end of the year.
The extended stay offered to tourists has been attributed to the country’s post-pandemic tourism recovery.
Last year, a total of 11.5 million tourists visited Thailand, well above the 10 million tourist arrivals previously predicted by TAT.
But now TAT will hoping that extending the visa exemption / VOA policy will help to achieve its target of 25 million arrivals in 2023.
If approved, the proposed extension of the visa exemption / VOA policy would coincide with the predicted increase in arrivals from China.
Previously, TAT said it expects around 300,000 Chinese travellers will come to Thailand in the first quarter of 2023, with the number expected to increase in the second quarter.
By the end of 2023, TAT believes a total of 5 million tourists from China will have visited Thailand.
The news comes as TAT is planning a roadshow in China during the third week of February in an effort to further tap into the Chinese tourism market.
According to TAT, the roadshow will take place in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, and will be attended by approximately 120 business people from both China and Thailand.
In addition to the roadshow, Chinese online travel agent Ctrip will launch an online marketing campaign on social media to promote its tour packages in Thailand.