Visa Incentives To Last Longer?
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to forward a proposition to the cabinet this coming Tuesday to extend visa incentives by another three months at the least, in an attempt to persuade more foreign travellers and fuel the tourism industry even during the low season.
This plan expects to offset the big drop of Chinese travellers as a follow up to the Thai government’s zero-dollar crackdown late last year, said Kobkarn Wattanawrangkul, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister at the Asean Tourism Forum 2017 in Singapore.
Last year saw the cabinet waive-off visa fees and halve visa-on-arrival fees to a mere 1,000 THB for travellers from over 19 countries for a period that ranged from the 1st of December, 2016 to the 28th of February, 2017.
The special visa scheme is supposed to benefit visitors from Bulgaria, Andorra, Bhutan, Cyprus, China, India, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, the Maldives, Mauritius, Malta, Romania, Saudi Arabia, San Marino, Ukraine, Taiwan and Uzbekistan.
Thailand’s Tourism Department has forecasted a 13% fall in Chinese travellers this month, still lower than in November last year, which dropped drastically to 30% and was by far the biggest monthly plunge in Chinese traveller arrivals to Thailand.
Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanawrangkul stated that the Chinese tourist market has slowly but surely improved. 5 Tourism Authority of Thailand offices in the People’s Republic of China reported that Chinese travellers are coming back to Thailand, with the visa application numbers at Thai embassies in China doubling over the October to November period. She continued to mention that with the increasing visa application numbers, the impact of the zero-dollar crackdown was fading away.
The visa scheme has clearly increased foreign tourist arrival numbers since December. 2016 saw 32.6 million tourist arrivals in Thailand, with the January 1st to the 20th of 2017 period welcoming 1.8 million international tourists, which is a 6% year-on-year increase.
The visa incentives are streamlined with the objective of the World Travel and Tourism Council to help encourage travel via visa facilitation.
Keyword/phrase – Visa Incentives, Thailand’s Tourism, Chinese Travellers, China, Thailand