China and Thailand’s visa exemption scheme promises tourism boost

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The Chinese ambassador to Thailand and the Thai-Chinese Cultural Relationship Council (TCCRC) have expressed optimism that the visa exemption scheme for nationals of both countries will boost outbound tourism and reinforce bilateral relations.

Pinit Jarusombat, President of TCCRC, highlighted the special significance of this Chinese New Year as it signifies the onset of a new epoch in Sino-Thai relations. The president further noted the uniqueness of the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi’s three-day stay in Thailand after signing the contract on January 24, as an exceptional gesture.

The visa-free scheme, set to kick off on March 1, promises to permanently exempt citizens of both countries from visa requirements. The primary objective of this waiver is to alleviate travel hindrances for Thai and Chinese travellers and encourage an increased number of Chinese tourists to visit Thailand.

Thailand is a preferred destination for affluent Chinese travellers due to the similarity in the cultures of both nations. Thailand is also perceived as a hub for investment and education within the ASEAN region, said Pinit.

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Pinit also emphasised the benefits to Thai citizens travelling to China as they will no longer endure months of waiting for a visa. He projected a tenfold increase in travel frequency between the two nations within the next two years.

Pinit also stated that Chinese tourists tend to spend approximately 20,000 yuan or 100,000 baht per person while visiting Thailand. This tourism revenue will significantly contribute to various levels of business, reported Bangkok Post.

The Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Han Zhiqiang, stated that the visa exemption would foster a closer bond between the two countries, akin to siblings.

“More associations will lead to stronger relationships, and make the saying that Chinese and Thais are not distant but brothers and sisters even more true.”

Han also reaffirmed China’s commitment to promoting world peace following a meeting with the Chinese government.

“China has a policy to collaborate with neighbouring countries and other nations in the world. Several policies have been issued to tighten such collaborations. Cooperation with Thailand will improve much more in the future.”

TCCRC president Pinit projected that the bilateral trade value between Thailand and China may hit US$200 billion (7.1 trillion baht) by 2024.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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