Relaxed Thai Tourist Visas
Thailand’s tourism industry is expected to be given a boost in the near future with the introduction of multi-entry six month visas for all visitors. Plans to give the green light to the new visa were announced earlier this month and under the new visa, tourists from most countries will be able to enjoy extended time in the Kingdom to enjoy its varied attractions.
According to Thailand’s tourism minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the new visa will be effective within 60 days following cabinet approval and will cost visitors THB5,000 (US$140). However, the one month visa that tourists use currently will still be available for a cost of THB1,000 (US$28).
The new regulations are expected to help sustain tourist arrivals, which are already up by 37 percent compared to the same period in 2014. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has targeted 28 million foreign visitors for the year and predicts the revenue generated by the industry to reach THB2.2 trillion (US$61.8 billion).
The new visa is just one newly introduced incentives to entice foreign visitors to the country and promote sustainable development of the tourism sector. Also approved earlier this month, the Thailand Tourism Development Strategy Plan (2015-2017) will hone in on five priority areas. Special elements that will be promoted include Lanna culture, South Issan civilization, beach activities, the Royal Coast and the Andaman Sea.
The new proposals, which encompass both long and short term goals, will target quality tourism measured by revenue earned and length of stay, as opposed to focusing on the mass tourism. As part of the development strategy there are also plans to improve Thailand’s connections to neighbouring countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos.
“ASEAN Connect is also one of the strategies that will be adopted,” said Wattanavrnagkul, and an action plan agreed with his counterpart tourism ministers will also aim to develop tourism in the region as a whole. The improvement of tourism products, information and safety are reportedly major components of the strategy and travel between each of the countries is a pivotal part of the plans, particularly the improvement of transport links.
In order to generate the revenue of THB2.3 trillion (US$64.7 billion) in 2016 and THB2.5 trillion (US$70.3 billion) in 2017, the Thai governement's three-pronged plan will centre on the development of services, tourism management and marketing.
by MAX VEE