Thailand likely to relax visa rules to extend tourists' stay ahead of Winter Festival
Thailand plans cultural and sporting events to attract tourists during the holiday season, and is considering relaxing visa rules to allow longer stays for some European nationalities.
WITH the commencement of the holiday season, tourism-reliant Thailand is planning innumerable cultural and sporting events and also considering relaxing visa rules to woo travelers.
Announcing the Winter Festival last week, Srettha said celebrations will include the Loi Krathong festival, Bangkok Marathon and New Year. The event is designed to showcase Thailand’s unique culture and attract tourists during the high season between November and January.
Elaborating on that, Prommin Lertsuridej, a top aide to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, said in an interview earlier this week, as quoted by Bloomberg, that Thailand is discussing a plan to let tourists of some European nationalities stay as long as 90 days.
“We will design more attractions and promotions to incentivize tourists to stay longer," Prommin, who is secretary-general to the premier, said. “Longer stay, more events to attract them, more fun on the nightlife scene. This is how we’re planning for tourists to spend more."
“There will also be about 3,000 events like music concerts, marathons and other cultural festivities organized through to next year to draw tourists."
Soon after becoming the prime minister, Srettha took measures to boost tourism in the country.
It temporarily waived visa requirements for travelers from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, India and Taiwan, and ordered airlines to add more routes while streamlining airport operations to cut waiting time for visitors. At the same time, it is likely to announce extended night hours for nightlife entertainment venues in some areas of Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chonburi from next month.
In 2019, the country saw record foreign arrivals — almost 40 million — which generated 1.91 trillion baht in revenue. That year, each tourist spent an average of 47,895 baht per trip which lasted nine days on average, according to official data.
As of Nov. 12 this year, Thailand has welcomed 23.2 million foreign tourists and received 981.7 billion baht in foreign tourist receipts. That means it’s currently tracking about 12% below the 2019 per-trip spending benchmark, the Bloomberg report said.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has set a goal to raise foreign tourism revenue back to pre-Covid levels, targeting at least 2 trillion baht ($57 billion) in 2024.