Monday , January 30 2023

Relaxed visa policies help Thailand easily beat tourism target

Thailand expects inbound tourist numbers this year to exceed its target by 15% thanks to its lifting of Covid restrictions and having a generous visa policy.

The number of foreign tourists is expected to reach 11.5 million against a target of 10 million, Bloomberg quoted Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, as saying.

It had topped 10.9 million by December 20 buoyed by a year-end rush of visitors from Europe and the U.S.

Revenues from tourism are expected to reach 1.5 trillion baht (US$43 billion), around half the pre-Covid level, Supasorn said.

Tourism picked up after Thailand lifted most Covid restrictions mid-year and later became one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to fully reopen.

Nationals of over 50 countries get a 45-day visa-free stay while visitors from 23 others can get e-visas.

Vietnam opened its borders in March but has only got 3.5 million foreign visitors this year, or 70% of its target of five million.

Industry insiders blame the visa policy as being one of the main bottlenecks hindering recovery.

Vietnam is offering visa-free stay of up to 30 days to visitors from 23 countries, and 90 days to Chile, and 30-day e-visa to 80 other countries.

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