Published on : Thursday, October 22, 2020
Restricted flight facilities have made hundreds of Chinese apply for Thailand’s newly introduced special tourist visas, giving them the opportunity to enter the kingdom to resume their business activities or spend time with family members after a six-month separation.
Thailand formally made the special visa available in October. It is its first tourist visa after closing the borders since March for checking the spread of COVID-19. The new visas will permit tourists from “low-risk” countries to enter Thailand for long stays of up to 270 days.
The Thai government said that there are two special tourist visa flights scheduled from China, on Oct. 20 to Bangkok and Oct. 26 to Phuket, with another group from Scandinavia on Nov. 1. The special visas will be available up to September 2021, and is expected to attract around 1,200 travelers every month.
The special visas are aimed towards attracting wealthy foreigners to visit Thailand and spend to rescue a badly hit economy. Nevertheless, the strict requirements like paid bookings for the quarantine hotel as well as all of their intended stay, at least half a million baht ($16,000) in savings and COVID-19 coverage issued by Thai insurers are discouraging general tourists.
A visa agent said that entering Thailand on a special tourist visa will cost no less than 150,000 baht. Before the pandemic, individual tourists visiting Thailand would spend around 10,000 baht on a round-trip flight, while sharing a four-night hotel with their partner for 5,000 baht each.
However, many Chinese are still applying for the special visas, since they have existing Thai connections. Currently, foreigners are allowed into Thailand on specific visas like medical, business, study and work, while general tourists are still barred from entering its borders.