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Long-term tourist visa in the works, Thai Cabinet to discuss next week

Caitlin Ashworth

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Long-term tourist visa in the works, Thai Cabinet to discuss next week | The Thaiger
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A special long term visa is set to be discussed next week. If approved, it would allow visitors entering Thailand to stay for up to 9 months. The 90 day visa would be allowed to be renewed twice, adding up to a maximum stay of 270 days.

Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT, governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the Cabinet will discuss the visa next week. He says the visa would cost 2,000 baht, but did not say how much it would cost to renew the visa. Yuthasak says they are trying to find a balance between reviving the tourism sector and keeping the public free from the coronavirus.

“So TAT has to prepare for ‘limited exposure’ to foreign tourists, hoping to attract tourists from markets such as Europe in the fourth quarter of this year. If the results are good, numbers can be expanded.”

There has been some talk about allowing tourists from countries classified as “low risk” to enter Thailand without a 2 week quarantine. But considering the recent local transmission of the coronavirus, that plan has been sacked for now. Last week, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19 during a routine check at a prison following his arrest on drug charges. Thailand went 100 days without a reported local transmission.

“Efforts have been made to move forward with the limited exposure. However, after the cases of the Egyptian soldier being infected with Covid-19 in Rayong and a DJ in prison also being infected, concerns have been raised about a new coronavirus outbreak.”

Even though there’s a risk of spreading the virus, those in the tourism industry say they need international visitors. If international tourists are still banned by the end of the year, 2.5 million of the 4 million jobs in the tourism industry might be lost, Yuthasak says. Tourism accounts for 20% of Thailand’s gross domestic profit, he says.

In Phuket, international tourists contributed to 90% of Phuket’s reliance on tourists dollars, directly and indirectly. If international tourists aren’t let back in this year, 50,000 jobs could be lost, according to the Phuket Hotels Association. In Pattaya, the city’s famous Walking Street has gone quiet. Many businesses closed. Some businesses that are still open say they will be forced to close if international tourists aren’t let back in.

Yuthasak predicts that all foreign tourists will be allowed to enter Thailand in April or June, once a Covid-19 vaccine is ready for public use.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fred

    September 10, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Amazing how many things are discussed in Thailand – but remain without action

  2. Avatar

    murika

    September 10, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    So after saying that too many farang live and work in Thailand on a tourist visa that is ment to be use only for short hollydays, they create a long term tourist visa that all the farang teachers/divers/dj will use instead of the proper non b visa. Meanwhile the one who respect the law by applying for to he proper visa will still have the super complicated process to get it… And soon they will complain again that farang live in Thailand on a visa for tourist

    • Avatar

      james

      September 11, 2020 at 7:40 pm

      We will be allowed to apply for a ‘proper’ visa once the new nine-month tourist visa is in place.

      They can make it simple as I only need a simple visa for 6 to 9 months a year, let us just show them an amount in a bank account say for example £20,000 in order for us to pay for our stay and we will be happy.

      • Avatar

        J.C.

        September 14, 2020 at 2:31 am

        I lost brain cells reading this comment.

    • Avatar

      Ynwaps

      September 12, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      You can’t get a non b Visa If you’re privileged to work online or not at all.

  3. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    September 10, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    Let’s hope they let foreigners currently in Thailand and trying to stay hop on that visa…

    Proof of funds to cover stay, 2000 THB… would be great for those on tourist visas and also those caught between the gaps (expired non-Bs, OA etc) – Staying here a little more or going back to places with thousands of cases per day, it’s a no-brainer for some

    • Avatar

      Jules

      September 13, 2020 at 9:13 am

      And extend retiree visa to, even to the point of permanent residency. A retiree is only welcome if their well enough to spend their money. When they become too frail to apply for retirement visa in person they have to return to their own country. In many cases they may not have been back to their own country for many years and have no connections their. For a country that used to respect their elders this is and ever depreciation of respect. In Thailand money is the god and unless this attitude changes by example from the government/ immigration it send out the wrong signals to the general public.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    September 10, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    Do you have a better idea, @murika?

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      September 10, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      Do away with visas… what are they for anyway?
      Just use passport numbers and countries to select people for entry. keep it simple.
      let spouses of thais work or make businesses and contribute to the economy.

    • Avatar

      Patrick Nouvel

      September 10, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Now I know who has stollen my crystal Ball, we will get a great vaccine & let enter tourists by April or June… No crystal ball needed to understand by that time that 50 to 60% of the tourists related industrie will be closed for ever. The soft loans advertized by government being a hoax, banks refusing 95% if not more applications

  5. Avatar

    Eddie

    September 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    They never consider those visa free countries.

  6. Avatar

    Gosport

    September 10, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    To make it easy, renew visa 3 months by 3 months untill vaccine is available for foreigners. After this, visa free for all neighbor nations. Happiness all in one

  7. Avatar

    Bjørn

    September 10, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    Will all those people currently on visa amnesty without anywhere to go be allowed to apply for such a visa? What about making it easier for those tourists who are already here, covid-free, extending their stay, so they can continue to contribute to the local tourism business?

    • Avatar

      barry

      September 10, 2020 at 11:01 pm

      not just tourists Bjorn, people who were here on now expired long term visas (such as non-immigrant type Bs) have very little options to stay, even though they often have much less of a “home” to come back to than tourists.
      People have good reasons to want to stay in Thailand, my slogan is “let them stay, make them pay”….

      • Avatar

        Rinky Stingpiece

        September 10, 2020 at 11:16 pm

        In the end, it’s not the foreigners that are wanted, but the money they spend… the problem is they seem to want to collect all the money up front, which is culturally opposite to westerners who are used to pay as you go. Asking people to pay up front so much makes people so, no thanks, and so they get no money. The better strategy is to make it easy to come and to stay, and easy to keep spending small amounts but very frequently, and in the end they get the money… its the difference between putting a frog in boiling water, and heating the water with the frog already in it… the wise strategy is to coax your cows into the milking yard, and then you can milk them all for a long time, and enjoy the cream too.

        • Avatar

          J.C.

          September 14, 2020 at 2:32 am

          Low IQ take.

  8. Avatar

    FRED

    September 10, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    We are around the world for a year and a half, we have rented our house until our return.
    We would like to buy this visa because we are tourists block here …
    Why want us to leave on the 26th.
    We have finances, and income every month because we rent apartments.
    So stopped believing that we are all bad people.

    • Avatar

      barry

      September 10, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      Exactly – and even if you guys weren’t tourists, you would have to leave, on an expired non-immigrant type B for instance.
      We really hope the Thai government will give us options to stay in these unprecedented circumstances…

  9. Avatar

    Mark

    September 10, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    Of course people which have the freedom to stay such a long time within another country will highly appreciate to take advantage of that offer.

    But seriously. There exists different studies to the topic how long people usually stay on vacation. Depending on the study the numbers are between 8 and 14 days in average which makes sense if you look into countries like e.g. Japan where employees have limited time to go on holidays or for example US (which is just used as an example right now – not saying to open the boarders for US).

    What I want to mention is: will that step really boost the tourism economy of Thailand? And all the suppliers which depend on that industry? Frankly speaking. Not sure about.

    1. The amount of people who enter the country is limited.
    2. These people will have totally other habits than short term visitors, e.g. don’t spend money in the same way like short term vistors in restaurants, for sight-seeing, and so on.

    But this is just my view on it.

  10. Avatar

    InnerCynic

    September 11, 2020 at 12:15 am

    The visa “solution” will arrive once they see the money has “disappeared”. Funny how that works but it works every time.

  11. Avatar

    Maverick

    September 11, 2020 at 6:52 am

    One thing that is overlooked and not even covered by the Media is health insurance and the latest government requirement for Covid insurance – this is not available for high risk groups such as the over 70’s – why would insurance even be necessary if they have to quarantine ? There are so many contradictions in these stories being covered by the media where is the scrutiny from journalists – they just repeat parrot fashion what these clowns say

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      September 11, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      “why would insurance even be necessary if they have to quarantine ?”

      The quarantine is to protect others in the country from the possibility of you bringing in the virus.

      The insurance is to pay for your treatment if you subsequently catch the virus.

      No contradictions, and perfectly reasonable for those visiting. For those expats living here, for example on a Non-Imm ‘O’ visa, the insurance is unnecessary as they have to have funds in the bank for such eventualities.

      • Avatar

        Svcoquette

        September 11, 2020 at 12:43 pm

        The 100,000 US insurance requirement will prevent many retired tourists (like us) returning to Thailand. Better to have to show proof of sufficient financial ability to pay whatever might happen. Better to have well to do tourists than poor ones. Has there been a problem of tourists not paying their hospital bills?

  12. Avatar

    Svcoquette

    September 11, 2020 at 9:33 am

    We and many others arrived here on our yachts from Malaysia and are stuck here. Malaysia has closed it’s borders and seaports to foreign yachts until at least 31 Dec. All foreigners in Malaysia are permitted to stay until 14 days after 31 Dec. without payment or penalty.
    Forcing us to leave 26 Sept with no place to go is not sending a good message to the foreign yachts who come here each year and spend much money on boat repair and re-fitting.
    In our case our boat has been our ONLY home for many years. We hold USA passports but have no home there or reason to risk flying there. We also would not consider leaving our boat here as many have been vandalized as their owners can not get back.
    Phuket town Immigration was overwhelmed this past Tuesday. A real hassle for the foreigners and the staff there. Thailand should match what Malaysia is doing and extend all VISA s automatically until at least 31 Dec. If the 1900 baht monthly extension fee collection is what’s behind this then collect it when we leave.
    Before you jump thru hoops trying to attract new foreign tourists make the ones you have here feel welcome to stay and continue to support the local economy.

    • Avatar

      Frank Leboeuf

      September 11, 2020 at 11:32 pm

      Agreed – Thailand should extend all visas until at least 31 Dec, or at least give all foreigners here a chance to stay (and not just tourists with embassy letters).

      Even Indonesia let all foreigners, tourists but also those with expired work/stay permits (kitas) hop onto social visas (max extension, 6 months in normal times).

      Most foreigners here would gladly pay to stay, but for some of us (expired non-immigrant Bs or O-A) it isn’t an option…

  13. Avatar

    Jules

    September 13, 2020 at 9:11 am

    And extend retiree visa to, even to the point of permanent residency. A retiree is only welcome if their well enough to spend their money. When they become too frail to apply for retirement visa in person they have to return to their own country. In many cases they may not have been back to their own country for many years and have no connections their. For a country that used to respect their elders this is and ever depreciation of respect. In Thailand money is the god and unless this attitude changes by example from the government/ immigration it send out the wrong signals to the general public.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Thailand beaches may limit visitors until Covid-19 vaccine is available

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand beaches may limit visitors until Covid-19 vaccine is available | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Merve Selcuk Simsek

Beaches and national parks might not fully open to international tourists until a Covid-19 vaccine is available. Around 120 to 150 tourists departing from China are set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 after a 6 month ban on international tourists. They’ll have to go through a 14 day state quarantine, but after that, they may not be able to enjoy some of the island’s beaches. A report from Bloomberg says it’s “unlikely” beaches and parks will fully open to overseas travellers until a vaccine is out.

Thailand’s borders won’t fully reopen to international tourists until a vaccine is widely available to the public, according to Tourism Council of Thailand president Chairat Trirattanajarasporn. For the time being, only tourists on select charter flights with a 90 day Special Tourist Visa can enter the country.

“It’s good for the country to reopen even if it’s just for trial … Once we’ve tested our reopening plan for a month, we can assess how to go forward and allow more visitors to come in.”

The new Special Tourist Visa is an effort intended to help revive Thailand’s tourism industry which has been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bloomberg, the sector makes but about a fifth of the nation’s economy. Last year, the tourism industry generated 1.9 trillion baht with about 40 million foreign visitors. With travel restrictions in place to control the spread of the coronavirus, Chairat predicts tourism revenue will drop 82.6% to 336.5 billion baht by the end of the year.

“Businesses that rely on foreign tourists, especially in Phuket, Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, will continue to close in the coming months because there would only be a small group of people coming in after the reopening.”

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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Thailand News Today | Phuket re-opens, TripAdvisor review saga, Samut Prakhan chem spill | Sept 30

The Thaiger

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Thailand News Today | Phuket re-opens, TripAdvisor review saga, Samut Prakhan chem spill | Sept 30 | The Thaiger

Daily TV news about Thailand. Updates and all the latest information from thethaiger.com.

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme will land in Phuket on October 8.

The flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

The resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine.

Minister calls for all complaints against Sarasas schools to be monitored amid abuse allegations

The Education Minister is asking the Office of the Private Education Commission to closely monitor all complaints filed against all Sarasas Witaed School branches around the country.

34 out of 42 of the schools have had complaints filed against them. Allegations of abuse first emerged when the actions of an abusive teacher at a branch of the school in the central province of Nonthaburi, just north of central Bangkok, were captured on CCTV.

Additional complaints made against several other branches of the private school allege harsh punishment, the charging of fees not sanctioned by the Education Ministry, and the use of unqualified teachers. The Thonburi school was also accused of using babysitters as teachers

The man who wrote the bad reviews for Koh Chang’s Sea View Resort has a criminal record

In the ongoing stoush between the American, Wesley Barnes, and Koh Chang’s Sea View Resort, it’s now been revealed that Mr Barnes has been of interest to the US judicial system in the past, being accused of firing a weapon at a bar in Jackson County, Missouri.

Wesley Barnes, who has been working in Thailand as a teacher, posted a number of negative reviews on different platforms, including Trip Advisor, allegedly accusing the Koh Chang resort of “modern day slavery”, amongst other complaints. He stayed at the resort in June this year.

But this isn’t the first time Mr Barnes has come to the attention of police.

In the US there was an incident which is now public record. There was an official police complaint against the 34 year old in 2017. He was accused of firing a weapon near Waldo Bar, and later at a convenience store, told people he was a federal agent prior to the initial incident.

Of course the man’s criminal record doesn’t prevent him from posting negative reviews but provides just a little more context to the ongoing saga between the hotel and Mr Barnes.

PM dismisses rumours of alliance with opposition to form new government

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has rubbished rumours that the ruling coalition parties plan to join forces with the opposition Pheu Thai party to form a new government.

While the PM initially didn’t respond to the question, instead bidding reporters a good day and walking away, he did mumble that he had enough “headaches” with one of his coalition partners.

Meanwhile Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwan, also dismissed the question, accusing the media of being behind the speculation. Under the current constitution the Thai PM is elected by a parliamentary majority, and not automatically coming from the leader of the party with the most number of votes. But a coalition between Prayut and Pheu Thai does seem, at face value, extremely unlikely.

Around 10 villagers hospitalised after chemical spill in Samut Prakan

Around 10 people were hospitalised after a chemical tank spilled at a village in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok.

Those near the spill reported feeling nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Officials do not known what chemical was in the tank.

The 1 metre tank had been taken into the forest by 2 employees at a second hand shop who hoped they could take it apart and sell the scrap metal. The 2 employees fainted when the tank spilled. Trees and grass in a 100 metre radius of the chemical spill also died.

The chemical let off a strong odour and Thai media says the fumes spread to a nearby village. Those at the second hand shop, close by to the chemical spill, started to feel nauseous and some had trouble breathing. Some people reported skin rashes after the incident. Around 10 villagers, including children, were sent to hospital.

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Thailand farmers hope to grow and export cannabis by next year

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand farmers hope to grow and export cannabis by next year | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Esteban Lopez

Under a proposed law, Thailand farmers would be allowed to grow cannabis and hemp for export without going through cannabis certified universities or medical institutes. The National Farmers Council president Praphat Panyachatrak says he hopes the new law will be in place by next year. The legislation is still being reviewed by the Public Health Ministry and National Legislative Assembly, but Praphat says he expects an announcement will be made soon.

Thailand’s recent rush to decriminalise and even legalise marijuana follows the Bhumjaithai Party joining the government coalition in 2019, headed by current Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. His elected MPs provide essential votes for the fragile coalition. His party ran on a platform of legalising marijuana.

Thailand has been gearing up for the global cannabis trade with talk of classifying medical cannabis as an economic crop. The classification would allow the plant to be exported to other countries. The government has also talked about adding a variety of cannabis cultivars to keep up with the demanding cannabis industry.

The National Farmers Council has been advocating for the cultivation of cannabis and Praphat says the new law will make it easier for farmers to grow the plant. He adds that farmers would be able to get a permit to grow cannabis as soon as they got an order from overseas.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand and is considered a Category 5 narcotic. Those charged with distributing cannabis face 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine from 40,000 baht to 200,000 baht. Those caught distributing over 10 kilograms of cannabis face up to 15 years in prison and a fine from 200,000 baht to 1,500,000 baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Chiang Rai Times

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