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

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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.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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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.

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