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Tourism sector wants Thailand to agree visa fee exemption for foreign visitors

Over 100 representatives from 10 tourism associations have met with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to discuss how best to promote the kingdom’s tourism industry. One proposal has been to agree a visa fee exemption for foreign tourists, along with extending some visas or stays by up to 45 days.

A total of 5 proposals will go before the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration when it meets on Friday. This includes the proposal to drop visa fees and to extend maximum stays from 30 to 45 days for those who are visa-exempt. Nationals from 56 countries can arrive visa-free but are only permitted to remain for a maximum of 30 days.

Meanwhile, other citizens, including those from major tourism markets, such as India, are still required to apply and pay for a visa, which allows a maximum stay of 60 days. Another option is the Visa on Arrival, which many tourists who cannot enter visa-free opt for. That costs 1,500 baht, but allows a stay of just 15 days.

During the meeting with the TAT, tourism representatives also voiced support for extending bar opening hours, in provinces where nightlife has been allowed to re-open. Ditching the outdoor mask mandate also received widespread backing, with tourism operators suggesting the mandate be kept for indoor areas and crowded outdoor spaces. They believe hotels should be able to make their own decisions on whether or not to have employees wear masks.

Dropping the Thailand Pass is also seen as essential, as it would mean foreign tourists only need to provide proof of vaccination and adequate health insurance. Meeting attendees also called for temperature checks at venues to be dropped, pointing out that the practice has so far been unable to practically identify people infected with Covid-19.

SOURCE: New Straits Times

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