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Thailand Advocates for 6-Nation Visa to Boost Tourism

Source: Visa Guide News

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, is pushing for a joint-visa program with five other neighboring countries. Among other things, this initiative aims to draw in more long-distance and big-spending travelers, as reported by the local media referring to Bloomberg.

In the past few months, Srettha has talked about a Schengen-style visa plan with leaders from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam, VisaGuide.World reports.

As further reported, most of the leaders have supported this idea. Hence, Thailand is aiming to generate more revenues from tourism, one of its main industries.

Official data shows that Thailand along with the above-mentioned countries welcomed nearly 70 million visitors in 2023. Meanwhile, Thailand and Malaysia together made up over half of the total, bringing in around US$48 billion in tourism earnings.

A Common Visa Would Benefit Tourism & Other Sectors, Tourism Representatives Claim

According to Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, a former president of the Thai Hotels Association, a common visa could persuade long-distance travelers to choose more easily. She further suggested extending the visa validity from 30 to 90 days, to make it “more attractive”.

Meanwhile, Bill Barnett, managing director of Hospitality and Property Consultancy C9 Hotelworks said that if done properly, visa-free travel will not benefit only tourism. According to him, a single visa would facilitate traveling for business and trade purposes.

However, implementation of a Schengen-style visa for free travel is considered to be challenging in Southeast Asia.

Thailand Introduced Visa-Free Agreements With Several Countries

Reportedly, the Thai government aims to welcome 80 million visitors by 2027. Henceforth, Thailand has been taking several initiatives in an effort to further increase its tourism figures.

Recently, the Thai authorities revealed plans to remove visa requirements with Australia. The agreement is expected to strengthen the trade deals between two countries as well.

As of March 1, 2024, Thailand and China introduced a mutual permanent visa-free entry. Since then, the citizens of these countries have been able to travel to each other’s countries visa-free for stays of up to 30 days. The new policy, among other things, increased travel bookings between the two countries.

In November 2023, the Thai government introduced a similar policy for Indian visitors. Moreover, Thailand is considering extending visa-free stay for certain countries.

Thailand Welcomed Over 9 Million Visitors in Q1 of 2024

Thailand saw a significant increase in international arrivals during the first quarter of 2024, welcoming over nine million tourists. Chinese tourists accounted for the largest number of visitors to Thailand, reaching 1.7 million figure.

In addition, Thailand welcomed nearly 1.2 million visitors from Malaysia, 622,813 from Russia,  558,873 from South Korea, and 472,952 from India.