Thai government considers visa system revamp to boost tourism revenue

Officials are calling for an overhaul of the tourist visa system. (via Freepik)

A major revamp of the visa system is presently under deliberation by the Thai government and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The amendments are anticipated to augment revenue generated from vital tourism markets like India and China.

The call to review the visa system originated from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They acted in response to many complaints from tourism operators lamenting the complex and costly visa process. They insist that the process discourages international visitors, especially the much sought-after tourist demographic from China and India.

The ministry has suggested that the e-visa system should be made more efficient to attract a bigger number of travellers, particularly from China, to Thailand.

In a recent online meeting with Thai consular officials based in foreign countries, the ministry discussed various new tourism strategies aimed at boosting the national economy. The topics of discussion encompassed the improvement of consular data and the advancement of e-visa and e-passport systems.

The TAT has an ambitious plan to achieve a revenue target of 3 trillion baht from foreign tourists in the coming year. However, Thai businesses have urged the government to put into action supplementary measures and lift certain restrictions, including a revamp of the visa system, for Thailand to achieve its tourism target for 2024.

The expectation is that the list of visa-exempt countries will soon include more nations, like India, to further draw tourists to Thailand. More policies aimed at rejuvenating the tourism industry will likely be put into place once the new government is officially in office.

Meanwhile, Thailand‘s government’s initiative to issue free visas to visitors from China is expected to boost visitor figures by 700,000 during the high season, according to the TAT. TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool noted that Thailand typically receives between 350,000 and 400,000 Chinese visitors monthly, totalling 2.1 million in the first eight months of this year.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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