Thailand awaits Chinese tourist influx after visa waiver

By Hoang Phong   October 1, 2023 | 08:26 pm PT
Thailand awaits Chinese tourist influx after visa waiver
A Chinese tourist is welcomed by Thai traditional puppets during a welcome ceremony of the first batch of Chinese tourists under a five-month visa-free entry scheme at Bangkok's International Airport, Thailand, September 25, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Thailand has set a target of 140.3 billion baht (US$3.85 billion) in tourism revenues following its recent visa waiver for Chinese visitors, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said.

With effect from September 25 and until February next year the government has temporarily waived visas for mainland Chinese visitors in a bid to boost tourism during the peak year-end season.

During this five-month period it expects to attract 2.9 million Chinese travelers, Chai said on the Royal Thai Government Facebook page.

More than 220,000 Chinese visitors arrived in the first two days after the waiver started.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin wrote on social network X, formerly Twitter, on September 30: "Thailand is very pleased to welcome all tourists from China. Our country has many beautiful beaches and diverse Thai cuisine. I hope everyone will have a safe and impressive trip."

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, China was the largest source of tourists for Thailand, accounting for 11 million out of a record 39.9 million in 2019.

Other Southeast Asian countries are also scrambling to lure the returning Chinese tourists.

The Malaysian government is considering waiving visas for Chinese travelers while Myanmar plans to offer visas on arrival.

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