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Changes to visas to stimulate tourist sector

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The drop-off in Chinese tourists has caused the Thai Government to come up with some creative ideas to re-invigorate the tourist sector, leading into this year’s high season.

The Nation reports that the Cabinet yesterday agreed, in principle, to back measures to stimulate tourism numbers.

Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said the Cabinet gave the green light for the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Passport Privileges” from November 15 until January 15, 2019.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will join the Finance Ministry to set additional special areas at tourism areas or department stores for tourists to facilitate convenient and quick refund of value added tax.

Nattaporn Jatusripitak, adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office, said that the Cabinet agreed, in principle, to review and offer relaxation to three types of visas with a two-month pilot period. The starting period will be determined by the Tourism and Sports Ministry after its study of the proper period and details.

Firstly, a single-entry visa will be allowed to be changed into a double-entry visa with travel required within six months at the same fee of 1,000 baht per person. The Cabinet also approved a re-entry permit to facilitate foreign tourists who visit Thailand’s neighbouring countries to return to Thailand without making another request.

Most foreigners are independent tourists who prefer to take a trip to Thailand’s main destinations and its neighbouring countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. The re-entry permit for the rest of the visa will help promote tourism in Thailand and Asean and satisfy this group of foreign tourists.

The Interior Ministry regulation will be amended to allow foreigners who receive a visa waiver for 30 days and travel into Thailand via land immigration checkpoints or land border checkpoints to enter the country with an unlimited number of visa waivers per calendar year.

Based on a database of the Tourism and Sports Ministry, nearly 5 million foreign tourists travelled through land-border checkpoints of Thailand in 2017, up 3 per cent from the previous year.

A number of foreigners stay and work in Thailand’s neighbouring countries.

These foreigners come from Singapore, Japan, France and the United States and like to travel to Thailand for shopping, leisure, sports competitions and healthcare.

These measures aim to maintain Thailand’s tourism revenue at not less than the targeted growth of 12 per cent in 2019, or about 2.28 trillion baht.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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