Thailand approves long-stay visa in bid to revive tourism industry

An empty restaurant and bar street in Phuket during Thailand’s coronavirus lockdown

In its aim to revive the collapsed international tourism industry in the country, the Thai government on September 15 approved a new long-stay tourism visa which would allow foreign visitors to stay up to nine months in a row in Thailand. The visa, however, comes with a few special conditions.

The issuance of the so-called “Special Tourist Visa” would begin as early as next month, but no exact date has been announced yet. Each visa will cost 2,000 baht ($65). It is valid for 90 days and can be renewed twice, adding up to a total of 270 days of stay in the country without having to leave and re-enter each time it gets renewed like with the existing multiple-entry tourist visa valid for six months plus three 30-days extensions after each re-entry.

However, potential tourists will still have to get all the necessary paperwork such as a fit-to-fly certificate, an embassy letter, a short-dated Covid-19 test and insurance confirmation. They also will have to undertake a 14-day quarantine either at a state-approved hotel or a hospital.

Loads of paperwork and expensive quarantine packages mandatory

For those opting to stay in a hotel, they are offered two-week packages from a range of hotels participating in the quarantine scheme, run in conjunction with the Thai Ministry of Public Health. The packages include regular virus testing and strict quarantine backed up by security measures. No alcohol is allowed during quarantine. The cost of the scheme varies from ฿32,000 ($1,028) to ฿150,000 ($4,862) per 14-day stay, depending on the chosen hotel.

Foreigners applying for the long-stay visa further need to show where they intend to live in Thailand, present a source of funds and agree to pay for the state quarantine for 14 days. Evidence to show where the tourist will live may include a hotel reservation, a lease contract on a condominium unit or property or documentation that shows that the tourist already has a residence in Thailand.

The visa will be offered to tourists until September 2021 and is limited to countries where the Covid-19 virus is under control. A government source, earlier this week, said that entrants will include visitors from some parts of Europe, Taiwan and regions within China where the virus is thought to be under control.

However, the new visa does not come without criticism. Observers have said that international travelers who have the time and funds to undergo such complex and expensive procedures to enter Thailand and are then limited to move around, would likely go elsewhere.

Especially Europeans have plenty of holiday opportunities without quarantine or paperwork on their own continent, and, for example, even the Maldives, which has dropped any entry restrictions, would be a cheaper option at current discounted resort prices.



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An empty restaurant and bar street in Phuket during Thailand's coronavirus lockdown In its aim to revive the collapsed international tourism industry in the country, the Thai government on September 15 approved a new long-stay tourism visa which would allow foreign visitors to stay up to nine months in a row in Thailand. The visa, however, comes with a few special conditions. The issuance of the so-called “Special Tourist Visa” would begin as early as next month, but no exact date has been announced yet. Each visa will cost 2,000 baht ($65). It is valid for 90 days and can...

An empty restaurant and bar street in Phuket during Thailand’s coronavirus lockdown

In its aim to revive the collapsed international tourism industry in the country, the Thai government on September 15 approved a new long-stay tourism visa which would allow foreign visitors to stay up to nine months in a row in Thailand. The visa, however, comes with a few special conditions.

The issuance of the so-called “Special Tourist Visa” would begin as early as next month, but no exact date has been announced yet. Each visa will cost 2,000 baht ($65). It is valid for 90 days and can be renewed twice, adding up to a total of 270 days of stay in the country without having to leave and re-enter each time it gets renewed like with the existing multiple-entry tourist visa valid for six months plus three 30-days extensions after each re-entry.

However, potential tourists will still have to get all the necessary paperwork such as a fit-to-fly certificate, an embassy letter, a short-dated Covid-19 test and insurance confirmation. They also will have to undertake a 14-day quarantine either at a state-approved hotel or a hospital.

Loads of paperwork and expensive quarantine packages mandatory

For those opting to stay in a hotel, they are offered two-week packages from a range of hotels participating in the quarantine scheme, run in conjunction with the Thai Ministry of Public Health. The packages include regular virus testing and strict quarantine backed up by security measures. No alcohol is allowed during quarantine. The cost of the scheme varies from ฿32,000 ($1,028) to ฿150,000 ($4,862) per 14-day stay, depending on the chosen hotel.

Foreigners applying for the long-stay visa further need to show where they intend to live in Thailand, present a source of funds and agree to pay for the state quarantine for 14 days. Evidence to show where the tourist will live may include a hotel reservation, a lease contract on a condominium unit or property or documentation that shows that the tourist already has a residence in Thailand.

The visa will be offered to tourists until September 2021 and is limited to countries where the Covid-19 virus is under control. A government source, earlier this week, said that entrants will include visitors from some parts of Europe, Taiwan and regions within China where the virus is thought to be under control.

However, the new visa does not come without criticism. Observers have said that international travelers who have the time and funds to undergo such complex and expensive procedures to enter Thailand and are then limited to move around, would likely go elsewhere.

Especially Europeans have plenty of holiday opportunities without quarantine or paperwork on their own continent, and, for example, even the Maldives, which has dropped any entry restrictions, would be a cheaper option at current discounted resort prices.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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