Thailand to offer visa exemption for Chinese tourists

By Hoang Vu   September 5, 2023 | 03:30 am PT
Thailand to offer visa exemption for Chinese tourists
Tourists from mainland China dressed in traditional Thai costumes visit Wat Arun temple ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year as China reopens the border in Bangkok, Thailand, January 18, 2023. Photo by Reuters
The new Thai government is mulling visa exemption for visitors from China as arrivals from the world's largest outbound market has fallen short of the target.

Thailand's new prime minister Srettha Thavisin has urged relevant agencies to consider waiving visas for Chinese tourists by October to revive its tourism industry during the peak tourism season, Bangkok Post reported.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand expected the government's plan to issue free visas to visitors from China will add 700,000 arrivals during the peak season.

Thailand has received 2.1 million Chinese tourists so far this year, less than half of the year's 5-million target, according to Thailand's Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists were the biggest feeder market of Thailand's tourism industry. In 2019, over 11 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand, accounting for more than a quarter of its total foreign arrivals.

Both Chinese and Indian tourists are allowed to apply for a visa on arrival that costs THB2,000 (US$57).

The visa approval time for Chinese visitors now takes two weeks, compared to only 3-5 working days before 2020.

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