In a good news for travellers, Thailand will allow visa-free entry for tourists from India and Taiwan for a period of six months from November 10 to May 10, 2024. The decision has been taken with an objective to draw in more tourists as the tourism season approaches, a Thai government official told news agency Reuters.
Those arriving from India and Taiwan can enter Thailand for 30 days, according to Thai government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke. He added the authorities hoped that the scheme would attract 1.4 million extra tourists, generating additional 55 billion baht or $1.5 billion in revenue.
“We will provide visa-free entry to India and Taiwan because a lot of their people like to travel to Thailand,” Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin was quoted as saying by news agency AFP. As of now, Indian and Taiwanese tourists have to apply for a 15-day visa-on-arrival at immigration checkpoints, present bank statements and proof of accommodation.
In September this year, Thailand had waived tourist visa requirements for Chinese nationals. China was Thailand’s top pre-pandemic tourism market with 11 million of the record 39 million arrivals in 2019.
Thailand is the second country to announce visa waivers for Indian globetrotters. Sri Lanka also recently announced visa-free entry for visitors from seven countries including India and China as part of a pilot project to shore up the island nation’s tourism till March 31, 2024.
From January-October 29, there were 22 million visitors to Thailand who generated revenue worth 927.5 billion baht or $25.67 billion, as per the government data. Of this, nearly one million Russian tourists have arrived in Thailand since the beginning of 2023.
This year, Thailand is eyeing roughly 28 million tourist arrivals as the government hopes that the travel sector can offset weak exports that have adversely impacted the country’s economic growth.
Thailand’s tourism sector contributes almost 20 per cent of the overall GDP but it has struggled to recoup ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 1.2 million Indians visited Thailand from January-September 2023, the fourth highest after Malaysia, China and South Korea, as per tourism ministry data.
(With inputs from agencies)