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Tourism officials want longer visa-free stays for long-haul tourists

Phuket crowds tourists

The extension of 30 day visa-free tourism, to 90 days, is back in the news again. Tourism officials are requesting visa-free stays to be extended for long-haul travellers from places “like the US and Europe” (other countries weren’t mentioned in their request). The Tourism Authority of Thailand has urged the government to extend the duration of stay to 90 days, saying doing so would boost 2024 tourism revenue from these areas by 40%.

At the moment, arrivals from around 63 countries can enter Thailand visa free, remaining for a maximum period of 30 days. This duration of stay has already been extended to 90 days for arrivals from Russia, which tourism officials say has already provided a significant boost to the sector.

According to a report from the National News Bureau of Thailand, over 100,000 foreign arrivals, mainly from the US, the UK, Sweden, and Germany have applied for a 60-day visa in the past year. Extending their maximum allowed stay to 90 days would mean an additional million room nights, says the TAT.

The TAT is also urging the government not to reintroduce the TM6 forms at the Thai-Malaysian border.

Last year Thailand’s visa-free entry was granted to Chinese, Taiwanese, Kazakh and Indian visitors, for a 30 day stay, extendable for another 30 days.

Officials remain hopeful that with the right measures in place, Thailand will attract more European travellers, despite the downturn in Europe’s economy and geopolitical tensions in the region.

The TAT says the cheaper cost of living in Thailand is a big draw for European visitors and it hopes to see a record number of arrivals this year, including 2 million visitors from Russia and over a million each from the US, the UK, and Germany.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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