Thailand has proposed a visa waiver for Chinese and Indian tourists.
According to the report from Thailand’s new prime minister Srettha Thavisin government, visa waiver for Chinese and Indians will definitely sparked hopes of reviving Thailand’s sluggish economy as well as fears of over-tourism and environmental damage among some.
With this action, Thailand becomes the only country in the Southeast Asian region with visa exemption for Chinese tourists.
Thailand expects to welcome up to 30 million international tourists this year.
Both Chinese and Indian tourists can also apply for a visa on arrival – that costs THB2,000 (US$57) and allows them a 15-day stay and up to 60 days.
Tourism operators and analysts are confident the visa waiver will accelerate the industry’s recovery and help Thailand achieve its targets for tourist arrivals, as they cite the lengthy visa application process as one of the bottlenecks in tourism export.
The Thai prime minister, who had first revealed the proposed plans on Aug 25, emphasised five days later how tourism can play a key role in the country’s short-term economic revival, as he disclosed that talks had been held with related sectors.
According to the China Tourism Academy Thailand was the most popular foreign tourism destination for Chinese travellers.
In the first half of 2023, among the 15.4 million international tourists there are about 1.9 million Chinese who have visited Thailand. Indians made up about 5 per cent of the total foreign tourists in the same period.
Currently, tourists from 57 countries and territories can enter Thailand and stay up to 30 days without a visa.