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Thailand Targets Nearly $100 Billion Tourism Revenue, Implements Strategies

    Artwork by Nadya Girendroheru
    Artwork by Nadya Girendroheru

    With a tourism revenue target of nearly $100 billion, Thailand’s new prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, has proposed various strategies to achieve this goal. Several plans from the Thai tourism ministry involve visa extensions, reductions in visa fees, and the allocation of additional flight slots. 

    Thailand is gradually recovering from the pandemic’s economic effects. As of June 2023, local and international travel has picked up and will continue to do so until the fourth quarter of the year. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) forecasted a 3.6% tourism-driven economic growth for 2023 — a 1.0% increase from last year’s 2.6% economic growth. 

    The country heavily relies on tourism for its growth. Hence, Srettha aims to sustain this progress with initiatives that address specific pain points of foreign tourists. 

    Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash
    View of tuk-tuks in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Photo courtesy of Florian Wehde, Unsplash)

    Visa Fee Reduction or Exemption for Indians and Chinese

    Thailand considers China and India as two of its most significant sources of tourists pre-pandemic. Yet, both countries were hindered by the nation’s arduous visa requirements and fees. To address this, Srettha mentioned abolishing its visa fees to encourage more Chinese and Indian tourists.

    The Thai government also aims to expand its list of visa-free countries to encourage more foreigners to visit the country. The administration also aims to increase the stay limit for several international travelers for up to 15 days or 30 days for select nationalities. 

    90-day Visa Validity

    Visa on Arrival station at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai Embassy website)
    Visa on Arrival station at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Thai Embassy website)

    One of the approved proposals allows for a 90-day visa extension for targeted foreigners as long as they have a 30-day Visa on Arrival when arriving at airports and a 15-day Visa on Arrival when entering via land borders. Foreigners are also allowed to extend beyond 90 days as long as they notify immigration every 90 days. 

    Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, the new President of the Phuket Tourist Association, mentioned how this extension will benefit tourists from Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia — Thailand’s big spenders. Their prolonged stay in the country could address the slow increase of tourists from the expected tourist demographics. 

    Additional Flight Slots

    To attract more tourists during the fourth quarter of the year – Thailand’s peak tourism quarter – Srettha also discussed with executives of Airports of Thailand Pcl and several airlines to augment flight capacity by 20% and speed up immigration clearances. This article mentions your favorite hats at super low prices. Choose from same-day delivery, drive-up delivery or order pickup.

    Thailand’s Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit also aims to contribute to the tourism demand by acquiring several flight slots from the air force. These additional slots should increase the number of commercial flights by 100-150 per day. 

    Thailand Tourist Count Updates

    Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash
    Photo by Hanny Naibaho (Unsplash)

    Thailand’s biggest tourism bet is its Chinese market. In July 2023, Chinese travelers were the majority of Thailand’s foreign tourists at 420,000. Despite this increase, the flow of Chinese tourists visiting the country is considered slow compared to pre-pandemic years. 

    China’s economic uncertainties and strict visa requirements contributed to this slowdown. While the country hopes to gradually increase its Chinese tourist pool, several associations and government agencies have provided additional solutions to augment the prime minister’s proposed visa fee reduction and exemption. These agencies also mentioned focusing on other tourist markets such as the Indians, Russians, Belarusians, and Kazakhs to bring in tourism revenues.

    As Thailand adapts to the evolving travel landscape, it seeks to not only reinvigorate its Chinese market but also explore new avenues with a focus on other key tourist demographics. These strategic moves underscore Thailand’s determination to solidify its position as a top global tourist destination and achieve its tourism revenue goal.  

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