Thailand to offer visa-free entry for visitors from China, Kazakhstan
Tourists take photos at the Grand Palace scenic spot in Bangkok, Thailand, June 15, 2023.(Xinhua/Wang Teng)
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said the policy will allow Chinese and Kazakh tourists to enter the Southeast Asian nation without visa requirements beginning on Sept. 25 until the end of February 2024.
BANGKOK, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Thailand has approved a temporary visa waiver for visitors from China and Kazakhstan during the year-end high season in support of its vital tourism industry.
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Wednesday that the policy will allow Chinese and Kazakh tourists to enter the Southeast Asian nation without visa requirements beginning on Sept. 25 until the end of February 2024.
The government would evaluate the impact of this temporary scheme after it ended, Srettha told a news conference after his first cabinet meeting.
"We have discussed this with all relevant agencies to ensure that we are fully ready," he said.
As a key driver of growth, Thailand has planned to reinvigorate its tourism industry by introducing promotional materials to inform prospective travelers and help them gain confidence in visiting the country, said government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke.
Tourists take photos at the Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand, June 16, 2023.(Xinhua/Wang Teng)
Additional measures also include increasing the routes and frequency of direct flights connecting with second-tier Chinese cities, which has the potential to draw more tourists, as well as setting up an online crisis management team to tackle misinformation and bad impressions among Chinese tourists, Chai told a news conference.
He noted that with this new policy, Thailand expects to receive 28 million foreign arrivals this year, earning over 1.4 trillion baht (about 39.15 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue from inbound visitors.
The country's inbound tourists are projected to reach 40 million in 2024, with 3.1 trillion baht (about 86.68 billion U.S. dollars) in total tourism revenue, he added.
In pre-pandemic 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for about 28 percent of the nearly 40 million foreign tourists to Thailand. Tourism accounts for about 12 percent of the country's GDP.