The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, says he intends to introduce visa-free travel for Chinese and Indian tourists later this year. He wants to put the proposal to Cabinet as soon as possible.
Chins and India are targets for Thailand’s latest tourism promotions, so visa-free-travel is back on the table for urgent consideration. Currently, citizens of both countries have to apply for a visa-on-arrival although the 2,000 baht service fee is being waived until October this year.
But the new minister says that may change with both countries possibly joining a long list of countries that enjoy visa-free entry for a stay of 14 days. He says he would like to roll out the new visa-free entry by as soon as November this year in time for the tourist high season.
The move is part of a broader policy to increase tourism revenue and reverse the slow down in the tourism growth rate, according to ttrweekly.com.
Pipat says the Chinese market could still deliver as many as 11 million tourists this year up from 10.5 million in 2018. While tourist arrivals from India in 2018 reached 1.5 million, making it the sixth-largest source of visitors. The growth rate was an impressive 27% over the year before.
The latest proposal would introduce a one year pilot project offering Chinese and Indian tourists visa-free entry starting November 1, a day after the current visa-on-arrival fee waiver program ends.
“This time I would like to propose visa-free travel, not a free visa-on-arrival. I believe it would stimulate the tourism industry and result in a much stronger conclusion for the high season later this year.”