Thailand gives 5 year visas to Hong Kong celebrities

Thailand‘s new strategy to lure in tourists is to dish out five-year visas to celebrities and influencers with large social media followings.

After Beijing dropped most of its Covid-19 travel regulations last month, Thailand is focussed on drawing back tourists from Hong Kong and China, who were Thailand’s No.1 tourists pre-pandemic.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to attract 800,000 tourists from Hong Kong this year.

The TAT chose to give Thailand Privilege Cards to three celebrities from Hong Kong – Michelle Yim, Simon Yam and Roger Wu – in exchange for promoting Thailand’s tourism industry in China.

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Governor of the TAT Yuthasak Supasorn says the three were selected for their unwavering support and contributions to Thai tourism.

All three celebrities, 67 year old actress Michelle Yim, 67 year old actor Simon Yam, and 50 year old food critic and travel blogger Roger Wu have huge followings in Hong Kong as well as mainland China.

Privilege Card holders benefit from a five-year multiple entry visa, fast-track immigration, lounge access at airports, private limousine transfers, and no need for 90-day reporting.

Usually, an Elite visa (Elite Card) with ‘elite privilege access’ costs 1,000,000 Thai baht. Regular Elite cards, which are especially popular among Chinese tourists, cost 600,000 baht.

Yesterday, Governor Yuthasak presented the three celebrities with an award at the Sindhorn Kempinski hotel…

“Thailand and Hong Kong have always shared strong and sustainable connections, and many Hong Kong people see Thailand as their second home.

“Today, we are honoured to present the Thailand Privilege Card, Friends of Thailand, and Tourism Authority of Thailand Appreciation Award to the legendary Hong Kong celebrities Ms Michelle Yim and Mr Simon Yam Tat Wah, and our biggest influencer, Mr Roger Wu Wai Chung, in recognition to their remarkable contribution towards Thai tourism and their commitment to bring Thailand and Hong Kong closer.

“Most importantly, they are committed to making Thai tourism better for everyone.”

“The rewards we have given to our friends are from the bottom of our hearts as a way of saying thank you for all they have done for Thailand.

Upon receiving her award, Michelle Yim said…

“I am glad to see advances in Thai tourism and truly honoured to receive these awards. Thailand is a shopping paradise. Thai people are kind and polite. Also, Thai food is good. I hope everyone loves Thailand as much as I do.”

With tears in his eyes, Roger Wu said…

“I am really thankful for this award. After living here for years, I want to convey a positive message about the country to other nations. Thailand is not worrisome for travellers, so I want to invite everyone to the Land of Smiles.”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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