Thailand News Today | Visa extensions, lifting Covid ban, flying in Russians


Thailand News Today

Agoda says Thailand is one of the first Asian countries to see tourism rebound after the Covid-19 pandemic

popular booking website Agoda says Thailand is one the first Asian countries to see tourism rebound after the Covid-19 pandemic. Omri Morgenstern, Agoda’s chief executive, says even though the inbound search rate for Thailand on the website was 39% lower than in the same period in 2019, it has risen since the beginning of 2022.

Morgenstern says it will take about three to six months for such search rates to return to pre-pandemic levels. But, he says it is contingent upon major inbound markets like mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan’s reopening.
But outbound search rates leave something to be desired as they remained almost 50 per cent lower in August compared to the same month in 2019. Morgenstern attributed the lag in outbound searches to Japan remaining closed. Thailand has a history of placing Japan as one of its favourite places for Thais to visit.
Thailand’s stimulus schemes like “We Travel Together” have also increased Agoda’s domestic travel search rates. The company says data for August saw an increase by 50 per cent from 2019 in its domestic travel search rates. It noted that Thais mainly booked travel to secondary cities while upgrading their bookings to more luxurious hotels.
Trauma from the pandemic has also contributed to the sluggish outbound tourism rates. As compared to the West, Asian countries are still using face masks and may be nervous about travelling to countries in the US or Europe.
He also remarked that the sword is double-edged as when outbound tourism increases, domestic tourism will decrease due to more travel options.


Tourists arriving in Thailand will soon be permitted to stay in the kingdom for longer

Tourists arriving in Thailand will soon be permitted to stay in the kingdom for longer. Today, Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisornkul announced that Thailand’s Cabinet had approved the temporary extension of both visas on arrival and visa exemption stays.
Between October 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023, foreign tourists arriving in Thailand are eligible to stay in the kingdom as follows…
Passport holders from the following 19 countries are eligible for visas on Arrival. Visa on Arrival stays will be extended from 15 days to 30 days.
Visa Exemption stays for passport holders from 64 countries with bilateral agreements with Thailand will be extended from 30 to 45 days. It’s a long list but feel free to pause the video to see if your country is on it



Thailand lifts ban on foreigners with Covid from visiting

If you’ve got Covid, Thailand is now saying feel free to come after a new provision has unbarred those with the virus from entering the kingdom. The Cabinet moved forward with the decision to allow foreign visitors with the virus to enter Thailand while removing the virus from a list of forbidden diseases in foreign visitors.
Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek says the new measure will come into effect once published in the Royal Gazette. But, those with “dangerous” stages of leprosy or tuberculosis, symptomatic elephantiasis, third-stage syphilis, and drug abuse-related diseases are still banned from entering.
Even those deemed to have chronic alcoholism are still banned from entering. Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says about five million tourists have arrived in Thailand this year. One million of those have come just this month alone. The government set a target of at least 10 million foreign tourists to Thailand this year. It is unknown whether that target will be met in the last quarter of this year.



Thailand to fly in Russian tourists on chartered flights this High Season

Unlike several European countries launching travel bans on Russia, Thailand welcomes tourists from the former Soviet state with open arms this winter.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) unveiled plans to fly Russian tourists into Thailand via regular chartered flights to boost tourism revenue this High Season, which runs from November to February.
In the years leading up to the pandemic, the Russian market generated a significant chunk of Thailand’s tourism revenue. Russians became the second largest international source market for Phuket’s tourism industry.
Even with the mounds of paperwork, money, quarantine and insurance involved in holidaying to Thailand when the borders opened during the pandemic, Russians were the first to download Test & Go/Thailand Pass and hop on a plane to Thailand.
However, since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine in February, several airlines have suspended their Thailand – Russia services, and Russia’s access to the kingdom waned. Some services are still running, but tickets have surged four to five times pre-conflict prices, making travelling to Thailand an unrealistic option for many Russians. Russians still want to come to Thailand, but they are less connected.
Currently, Russians are banned from travelling to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland. Lithuania’s interior minister this week said that Russian tourists are not welcome because three-quarters of Russian citizens support the country’s invasion of Ukraine, a conflict which has killed at least 5,827 Ukrainian citizens.
But Thailand desperately needs to boost tourism revenue, with airline connectivity between Thailand and the rest of the world at only 50% of 2019 figures, according to the TAT.
The TAT hopes that Russians will return to spend their rubles in the kingdom once more if connectivity between Russia and Thailand is improved. Therefore, the TAT is working with tour agencies to fly Russian tourists into Thailand on chartered flights three times per week this High Season.



The Thai Cabinet approved a budget of 212 million baht to support the foreign film industry in Thailand

The Thai Cabinet approved a budget of 212 million baht to support the foreign film industry in Thailand.

The Cabinet revealed that six movie crews, four from the US, one from France, and one from Singapore, will benefit from the 2023 budget.
Prime Minister Office spokesperson Trisuree Trisanakun revealed that Thailand has been promoting incentives for the international film community since 2017. Each team would get a cash rebate of 20% to 30% of their shooting budget in Thailand.
Trisuree revealed that the Cabinet’s foreign film budget for 2022 was 167 million baht, but it fell way short of the 217 million baht needed to rebate six movies that had already finished shooting. So, the government decided to allocate 212 million baht from the central budget kitty.
Since 2017, 43 movies have been shot in Thailand and generated over 9.7 billion baht for the economy. The Cabinet had rebated 22 films with budgets of over 50 million baht in Thailand, totalling about 542 million baht.
Trisuree insisted that the incentive measures were worth paying and benefited the country. The budget is invested in locals and the businesses surrounding each film location.


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