The cabinet of Thailand on 7 February decided to extend free visas at Thai embassies and consulates along with discounts on visas-on-arrivals for tourists of 21 countries.
Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a government spokesman, was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying that the Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand proposed to extend these visas to draw more foreign tourists as the estimate set earlier for three months during early December-February 28 raised the tourist arrivals number by 12.4 percent.
This measure allows visa fees to be exempted at the consulates and embassies of the Land of Smiles and the visas-on-arrival to be reduced by 50 percent to 1,000 baht, or $28.5.
The countries whose visitors are benefitting from this scheme are China, India, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, the Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Uzbekistan Andorra, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Mauritius, San Marino, Papua New Guinea and Romania.
Lt Gen Sansern said that the concerned authorities would arrive at a solution to offset the losses of $214,102,200 (7.5 billion baht) that the Foreign Ministry would incur by foregoing the usual visa fees during this duration of six months.
The visa scheme was introduced to make up for the steep fall of Chinese tourists following Thai government’s crackdown on cheap tour packages in September 2016. After it was initiated, the number of foreign tourists to Thailand increased since December. Between 1 January and 20th January this year, 1.8 million foreign tourists visited Thailand – an increase of six percent compared to the same period in 2016.
If you are planning to visit Thailand, contact Y-Axis, India’s leading immigration consultancy Service Company, to apply for tourist visas from one of its several offices located in the country’s largest cities.