…and not just for Russian tourists this time.
Thailand’s tourism ministry is discussing a proposal to offer ‘European’ tourists visa-free stays of up to 60 days. The current visa-free entry for arrivals from Europe is 30 days, with the possibility of extending while in the kingdom (for an additional 30 days at the cost of 1900 baht and a visit to the nearest immigration office).
The government plans to extend this in the hope of boosting tourism from over 50 countries.
According to tourism minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, the extension would mainly apply to countries in and around Europe, including Germany, Scandinavia, the UK and the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
“The visa-free policy has provided unprecedented opportunity for Thailand to attract foreign tourists. The ministry together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand are discussing plans to extend the visa waiver period to European countries, from where most high-spending visitors come, in a bid to motivate them to stay in Thailand longer.”
Sudawan says around 20% of foreign arrivals in Thailand are European, the second largest group after Asian travellers. In 2022, European tourists stayed an average of 18.55 nights per person, spending an average of 66,000 baht per person. The government is optimistic that revenue from this group has increased this year.
“This year, the spending among European visitors shows a rising trend to around 80,000 baht per trip.”
For 2024, the TAT is targeting 2.5 billion baht in revenue from foreign tourism, along with 1 trillion baht from Thai tourists.
“We aim to further increase revenue from foreign visitors in 2025 to 3 trillion baht. This is achievable as the airline industry worldwide is expected to have fully recovered by mid-2024, restoring flights from European countries to Thailand.”
The decision by Scandinavian carrier SAS to resume direct flights between Copenhagen and Bangkok after a 10-year hiatus is also seen as a positive move that will boost long-haul travel from the Scandinavian region.
The recent opening up of visa waivers to citizens from China, Taiwan, India and Kazakhstan has not resulted in the surge of additional bookings that was expected.
SOURCE: Nation Thailand