Tourism officials in Thailand are urging the government to increase the number of tourist visas being issued to Chinese nationals. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the current quota of 84,000 visas a month, issued by the Thai embassy in Beijing and 8 other consulates in China, is insufficient.
According to the TAT, demand from the Chinese market is steadily rising and its outbound tourism sector recovering. Chuwit Sirivejkul, TAT Regional Director of Marketing for East Asia, plans to meet with representatives from the Foreign Ministry next week to discuss the shortfall in visas. He says 84,000 visits is not enough to meet demand, particularly as Chinese visitor numbers are expected to return to the pre-pandemic level of 1 million a month.
The National News Bureau of Thailand reports that between January 1 and April 30, 843,920 Chinese travellers came to Thailand, making up 10% of international arrivals in that period. This year, the TAT is predicting that 5.3 million Chinese tourists will visit the kingdom, generating around 446 billion baht in revenue.
According to Chuwit, this number could potentially rise to 7 million if both the number of flights and the number of visas on offer are increased. He adds that during the period of late March to late October, a total of 33,843 flights with 6.13 million seats will have operated between China and Thailand. This doesn’t include the significant number of charter flights expected between July and October.
Chinese travellers can currently apply for visas at the nearest Thai embassy or consulate, or they can opt for a visa on arrival. However, this option is more expensive and only permits a stay of 14 days. The visa-on-arrival option costs 2,000 baht, whereas obtaining a visa from a Thai embassy or consulate costs 1,200 baht.
SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand