Government Implements Policy for Free Visas to Boost Tourism
New Measures Open to Chinese and Kazakhstan Tourists
In a bid to rejuvenate the tourism industry, the Thai government has recently unveiled a short-term policy aimed at stimulating tourism. As part of this initiative, tourists from China and Kazakhstan can now travel to Thailand without the hassle of applying for a visa. The visa-free measures, which came into effect on September 25, 2023, will remain in place until February 29, 2024. Encouragingly, the positive impact of these measures has already started to materialize, with results becoming evident in October 2023.
Mr. Chai Watcharong, the government spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, made this announcement on September 21. He revealed that Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Settha Thavisin, had approved the visa-free policy. This move was a response to the need for an immediate boost in tourism.
On September 20, 2023, the Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) submitted a report to the Transport Minister, providing an update on the number of flights and passengers traveling to and from China. The data compared travel figures between August 1 and September 19, 2023 (actual flights) with estimates for the period from September 20 to October 28, 2023.
The report revealed that the number of flights in October 2023 had significantly increased by 44% compared to August 2023, with a total of 3,075 flights recorded. Furthermore, a 32% rise was observed in October when compared to September 2023, reaching 2,335 flights. These figures include both regular and charter passenger flights, while cargo flights are excluded from the statistics.
In terms of passenger numbers, October 2023 witnessed a substantial surge of 77% when compared to August 2023, with a total of 589,993 people arriving in Thailand. Similarly, a 61% increase was recorded as compared to September 2023, which saw 365,980 passengers.
“Chinese tourists are a key demographic for Thai tourism. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand welcomed over 10 million Chinese tourists in 2018. Although affected by the pandemic, the situation has vastly improved, with COVID-19 now being considered an endemic disease rather than a widespread global threat. However, the current number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand has not yet reached the projected target set by Thai government agencies. To address this, the government has implemented a special temporary exemption from travel visas for tourists from China and Kazakhstan for a 5-month period, aligning with government policy. This move will significantly enhance the promotion of tourism and boost the economy,” emphasized the government spokesperson.
Government Spokesperson reveals government policy for free visas Open to Chinese and Kazakhstan tourists Concrete results began to appear in October after AOT reported a 44% increase in flight estimates and a 77% increase in passengers compared to August 2023.
On September 21, 2023, Mr Chai Watcharong, spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, revealed that Mr Settha Thavisin, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, according to the government. There is a policy to stimulate tourism in the short term. With visa free measures for tourists from 2 countries, China and Kazakhstan, they can travel to Thailand without having to apply for a visa. Between September 25, 2023 – February 29, 2024, a total of 5 months, the results of the visa-free measure for Chinese tourists began to emerge in October 2023.
A government spokesman further said: Most recently, the Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT) from Suvarnabhumi Airport (RTA) reported information on September 20, 2023 to the Transport Minister. Compare the number of flights and passengers traveling to and from China. Between 1 August – 19 September 2023 (actual flight) and 20 September – 28 October 2023 (estimate).
They found that there were 3,075 flights in October 2023, an increase of 44 per cent since August 2023 (2,132 flights) and a 32 per cent increase from September 2023 (2,335 flights). This is the number of regular passenger flights and charter flights. It does not include cargo flights. While in terms of passengers, in October 2023 there were 589,993 people, an increase of 77 per cent from August 2023 (333,344 people) and an increase from September 2023 (365,980 people) of 61 per cent.
“Chinese tourists are the main target group of Thai tourists. Before the situation of COVID-19, there were more than 10 million Chinese tourists in 2018. However, this year, despite the situation of COVID-19, It has greatly improved and is now only considered an endemic disease. The number of Chinese tourists is still below the target expected by the relevant agencies of the Thai government. This is a special temporary exemption from travel visas for tourists from China and Kazakhstan for 5 months in accordance with government policy. It will significantly support the promotion of tourism and the economy.”
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