Thailand issues free visas-on-arrival to boost tourism

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The Thai Immigration Bureau has approved the plan to temporarily waive visa-on-arrival fees for 21 countries, China and India among them, in hopes of promoting tourism over the New Year holiday.

Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on November 6 that the cabinet gave the green light to waive the 2,000-baht ($61) fee from the beginning of December through the end of January for visitors staying in Thailand for 15 days or less. 

The countries included are: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The number of visitor arrivals from some of those countries have greatly decreased in the past three to four months, said Buddhipongse, adding that the government expects the fee-exemption to stimulate a 30 per cent increase in tourists during the holiday season.

One of the major reasons Thailand’s tourist sector is suffering is the massive decline in tourists from China, which accounted for 28 per cent of the 35 million visitor arrivals last year.

Rattled by a series of incidents that have led to bad press – as well as owing to the trade war with the US – the Tourism Authority of Thailand in September said there had been an 11.8 per cent decline in the number of Chinese tourists coming to the country from August.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

The Thai Immigration Bureau has approved the plan to temporarily waive visa-on-arrival fees for 21 countries, China and India among them, in hopes of promoting tourism over the New Year holiday.

Reading Time: 1 minute

The Thai Immigration Bureau has approved the plan to temporarily waive visa-on-arrival fees for 21 countries, China and India among them, in hopes of promoting tourism over the New Year holiday.

Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on November 6 that the cabinet gave the green light to waive the 2,000-baht ($61) fee from the beginning of December through the end of January for visitors staying in Thailand for 15 days or less. 

The countries included are: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The number of visitor arrivals from some of those countries have greatly decreased in the past three to four months, said Buddhipongse, adding that the government expects the fee-exemption to stimulate a 30 per cent increase in tourists during the holiday season.

One of the major reasons Thailand’s tourist sector is suffering is the massive decline in tourists from China, which accounted for 28 per cent of the 35 million visitor arrivals last year.

Rattled by a series of incidents that have led to bad press – as well as owing to the trade war with the US – the Tourism Authority of Thailand in September said there had been an 11.8 per cent decline in the number of Chinese tourists coming to the country from August.

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