In a recent development benefiting travellers, Thailand has announced visa-free access for tourists hailing from India and Taiwan, effective for six months, starting November 10 and extending until May 10, 2024. This initiative aims to attract a larger influx of tourists during the peak travel season, shared a representative from the Thai government with Reuters.
Visitors from India and Taiwan can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days, as stated by Thai government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke. The authorities are optimistic that this move will draw an additional 1.4 million tourists, thereby increasing revenue by 55 billion baht, approximately $1.5 billion.
The Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, mentioned to AFP that they are offering this visa-free privilege to India and Taiwan as many citizens from these nations have shown a keen interest in travelling to Thailand. Until now, tourists from these countries had to secure a 15-day visa-on-arrival, showcasing their bank records and hotel bookings.
Earlier in September, Thailand had exempted Chinese tourists from visa necessities, recognizing China as one of its largest tourism sources pre-COVID, accounting for 11 million of the 39 million total visitors in 2019.
Notably, Thailand isn’t the only country extending this gesture. Sri Lanka recently initiated visa-free access for travellers from seven countries, including India and China, as a trial to boost its tourism, effective until March 31, 2024.
Between January and October 29, Thailand welcomed 22 million visitors, generating 927.5 billion baht, or approximately $25.67 billion in revenue, as reported by official data. Out of these figures, around one million were Russian tourists who visited since the outset of 2023.
With a goal set at 28 million tourists this year, Thailand is hopeful that the tourism industry can counterbalance the downturn in exports, which has been slowing down its economic growth.
Tourism in Thailand plays a significant role, constituting nearly 20% of its GDP. However, the sector has been grappling with challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 2023, about 1.2 million Indian tourists had visited, ranking India fourth in the list after Malaysia, China, and South Korea, based on tourism ministry records.
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