In a concerted effort to bolster tourism as the peak season approaches, Thailand has revealed an enticing plan to temporarily waive visa requirements for travelers hailing from India and Taiwan. This initiative is set to commence next month and extend until May 2024.
The decision to extend this visa waiver program follows a previous endeavor in September when Thailand eliminated visa prerequisites for Chinese tourists. Chinese visitors constituted a substantial portion of Thailand’s tourist influx before the global pandemic, accounting for a staggering 11 million out of the record-breaking 39 million arrivals in 2019.
Chai Wacharonke, the spokesperson for the Thai government, shared that travelers from India and Taiwan will be granted a generous 30-day visa-free stay in Thailand during this period.
As per the latest government statistics, Thailand has already welcomed 22 million visitors between January and October 29, contributing to a substantial revenue of 927.5 billion baht, equivalent to a staggering $25.67 billion.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin informed reporters that this new visa-free privilege for travelers from India and Taiwan will be effective from November 10th until May 10th this year, as reported by Bloomberg. The decision was made following a cabinet meeting with the primary goal of rejuvenating the country’s tourism industry.
According to the most recent data provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, tourists from Malaysia have formed the largest group of visitors to Thailand this year, with a remarkable count of over 3 million arrivals. They are closely followed by Chinese tourists, who held the position of Thailand’s prime tourist group before the pandemic, with a total of 2.65 million arrivals as of October 15.
Earlier this month, the tourism agency in Thailand predicted that the number of Chinese tourists is expected to reach between 4 to 4.4 million in the year 2023.
In a related development, on October 24, the Sri Lankan Cabinet approved the issuance of free visas to visitors from India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, with immediate effect. This pilot project is set to continue until March 31, 2024, as confirmed in a tweet by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry. This significant policy change allows visitors from these nations to obtain visas for Sri Lanka without incurring any charges. India has traditionally held the position of being Sri Lanka’s primary source of inbound tourism.