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Thailand considers offering European travellers visa-free stays of up to 90 days

Russian arrivals in Phuket
FILE PHOTO: Phuket International Airport

The Thai government is continuing its drive to attract more tourists to the kingdom, with the latest proposal being 90 day stays for European travellers. Exactly who ‘European’ travellers are, as defined in this story, is yet to made clear.

According to a Bloomberg report, the government also plans to organise “hundreds of events” to entice foreign tourists and encourage them to stay longer.

Prommin Lertsuridej, senior aide to PM Srettha Thavisin, says around 3,000 sporting and cultural events are being planned, including music concerts, marathons, and various cultural festivities.

“These include Winter Festival celebrations, such as yesterday’s Bangkok Marathon, Loy Krathong, and the New Year festivities.”

The PM is heavily focused on the power of tourism when it comes to economic growth, having already introduced temporary visa waivers for arrivals from China, Kazakhstan, India and Taiwan. Russian visitors have also had their visa-exemption stretched to 90 days from a previous 30 days.

Srettha has also instructed airlines to add to the routes on offer and introduce measures to make airport operations more efficient, reducing waiting time for foreign travellers.

His administration is also introducing late-night opening for nightlife venues in popular tourist areas. From December 15, pubs and clubs in Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri (code for ‘Pattaya’) can remain open (and sell alcohol) until 4am.

(Yes, we understand that many of these venues were already operating well past the ‘official’ 2am closing time. At least it’s now ‘official’.)

Thailand is still struggling to see the tourist figures it enjoyed in 2019, when 40 million foreigner travellers visited the kingdom. That brought an average tourist spend of nearly 50,000 baht per trip, with trips lasting an average of 9 days.

As of November 12, 23.2 million foreign travellers have visited Thailand, generating around 981.7 billion baht in foreign tourism revenue. This figure is around 12% lower than 2019 revenue and the Tourism Authority of Thailand plans to address this with a target of 2 trillion baht in tourism revenue in the coming year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post & Bloomberg

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