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Letter to Thai Immigration

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Congratulations to the Thai Immigration Department for its forward thinking on helping to attract additional tourists by waving visa fees for some countries and halving the visa-on-arrival cost for others. A stroke of genius. I’m not sure how you will inform the citizens of these countries of your cunning plan to lure back the tourists in the wake of the drop in Chinese numbers (post ‘zero dollar’ crackdown), but I’m sure you’ve got it all worked out.

I, too, have a few ideas I would like to share with you. Three in fact, that I think would also help attract tourists and also convince tourists to make a return visit.

1) More rubbish/trash bins and a campaign to educate locals and tourists that putting trash in the bin is better than dropping it on the road, or wherever.

2) Immigration staff at the airport that smile and think that providing a professional service would be good for their career, work satisfaction and help create a better first impression. Understand there would be a concern about long-term smile lines.

3) A proper, professional, organised and competitively priced public transport system. You know, taxis, passenger buses, tuk tuks – the things that tourists use to get around the island. At the moment the fares for these services (we use the term loosely) are an astonishing four times what you pay in Bangkok. I am sure there must be a legitimate reason for this level of local extortion but I am not aware of what it is.

But us mere locals are in awe of the Immigration Department’s very excellent ideas and look forward to the swarms of tourists taking advantage of the waving of previously really cheap, or non-existent, visa fees.

Our heartiest thanks.

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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