Relaxed visa policies help Thailand easily beat tourism target

By Hoang Phong   December 25, 2022 | 08:08 pm PT
Relaxed visa policies help Thailand easily beat tourism target
Tourists on the Chao Praya River in Bangkok on December 9, 2022. Photo by AFP
Thailand expects inbound tourist numbers this year to exceed its target by 15% thanks to its lifting of Covid restrictions and having a generous visa policy.

The number of foreign tourists is expected to reach 11.5 million against a target of 10 million, Bloomberg quoted Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, as saying.

It had topped 10.9 million by December 20 buoyed by a year-end rush of visitors from Europe and the U.S.

Revenues from tourism are expected to reach 1.5 trillion baht (US$43 billion), around half the pre-Covid level, Supasorn said.

Tourism picked up after Thailand lifted most Covid restrictions mid-year and later became one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to fully reopen.

Nationals of over 50 countries get a 45-day visa-free stay while visitors from 23 others can get e-visas.

Vietnam opened its borders in March but has only got 3.5 million foreign visitors this year, or 70% of its target of five million.

Industry insiders blame the visa policy as being one of the main bottlenecks hindering recovery.

Vietnam is offering visa-free stay of up to 30 days to visitors from 23 countries, and 90 days to Chile, and 30-day e-visa to 80 other countries.

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