Thailand plans to extend 45 day visa free stays until year end

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will propose extending the 45 day visa exemption on arrival policy until the end of the year to boost tourism recovery.

In September last year, Thailand’s Cabinet approved the temporary extension of visa on arrival and visa exemption on arrival for the High Season.

Between October 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023, foreign tourists arriving in Thailand are eligible to stay in the kingdom as follows depending on their passport country…

  • Visa on Arrival stays will be extended from 15 days to 30 days. Passport holders from 19 countries are eligible for Visa on Arrival.
  • Visa Exemption stays for passport holders from 64 countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand will be extended from 30 days to 45 days.

Thailand surpassed its target of 10 million tourists in 2022, welcoming 11.5 million in total, which the TAT largely attributes to Thailand’s extended visa on arrival/visa exemption policy.

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Last year, the TAT predicted that extended stays would spur tourists to stay in Thailand for an extra five days on average. If each tourist spent 4000 – 5000 baht per day, that’s an extra 20,000 baht pumped into the economy per tourist for every trip made to Thailand.

Extended stays have been vital to generating tourism revenue, spurring Thailand’s tourism industry to be among the fastest to recover in post-pandemic Southeast Asia. But there is still a way to go to make a full recovery.

For this reason, the TAT has proposed extending the visa on arrival/visa exemption on arrival policy to help reach their target of 25 million foreign arrivals in Thailand in 2023.

Extended stays in the kingdom are especially popular with Russians this year, with Russian arrivals in Thailand increasing sevenfold between September and December. Russians tend to opt for longer stays in Thailand to escape bitterly Baltic winters back home, which has been facilitated by the return of direct flight services between the two nations.

Now that China has finally opened its borders, luring Chinese tourists – who once dominated foreign arrival statistics – back into the kingdom will be vital to the TAT reaching its goal, too.

However, increased tourism won’t be facilitated unless airlines boost flights. The TAT is in discussions with airlines to increase flight frequency and routes to Thailand to make room for more tourists.

The TAT recently revealed that it hopes to boost foreign arrivals to 80 million per year by 2025 – double pre-pandemic figures.

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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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