Thailand to issue special visas for foreign tourists from October

Published on : Friday, September 18, 2020

Thailand will be issuing special visas for foreign tourists starting from October, thereby relaxing more than five-month-old ban on visitors for boosting its ailing tourism-dependent economy.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s cabinet approved a proposal for granting visas for tourists who are planning to stay between 90 and 280 days in Thailand, according to government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul. On arrival, tourists will need to undergo a compulsory 14-day state quarantine at partner hotels or hospitals and adhere to health and safety regulations.

The government anticipates around 1,200 visitors to benefit from these visas each month, generating about 1.2 billion baht ($38.5 million) in revenue. The easing of border restrictions is expected to boost the Thailand’s pandemic-battered tourism industry and mitigate the blow to an economy expected to shrink 8.5% this year.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality sectors are placing their trust in return of international visitors, who contributed to two-thirds of tourism income prior to the pandemic, to overturn the decline in businesses and save millions of jobs. A move to allow foreigners in small batches is expected to be a big relief to the country’s tourism industry.

Somprawin Manprasert, chief economist at Bank of Ayudhya Pcl said, “There will not be a huge economic impact from this as it still can’t compensate for the revenue lost, but it will help. This plan still targets a higher-spending group of foreign visitors which will not benefit tourism industry operators that have lower to mid-price points, who will still suffer.”

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