Free visa on arrival for tourists from 21 nations,including China

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to seek cabinet approval on a proposal to offer a temporary waiver for fee on visa on arrival for visitors from 21 countries, including China, from Nov 15 until Jan 15.

Speaking after a meeting on tourism organized by Tourism and Sports Ministry on Thursday, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the free visa on arrival is one of the two main measures designed to boost the number of tourists during the last two months of this year.

The other key tourism promotion measure is to offer a double entry visa at the rate of the single entry visa of 1,000 baht, he said, adding that the second entry is required to be done within 180 days.

These measures are aimed primarily at boosting the number of tourists from China, Thailand’s largest tourism market.

In the worst case scenario, Thailand will record only 10.5 million Chinese tourists visiting this year; but with these new visa privileges, the number may reach 12 million, said Mr Yuthasak.

“Although the visa fee waiver for 21 countries is estimated to cost about 3 billion baht, the measure is believed to bring 75 billion baht more in tourism income from the expected 1.5 million more Chinese tourists,” he said.

Since the fatal boat accident in Phuket in July, the average number of Chinese tourists coming to Thailand has dropped to about 20,000 per month from 50,000 per month before the accident, he said.

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