The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is set to propose extending the length of stay for tourist visas and visa on arrival (VOA) to a maximum of 45 days.
According to TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn, a proposal will be presented to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) at a meeting due to be held on August 19.
The proposal will call for the period of stay for tourist visas to be extended from the current 30 days to a maximum of 45 days, while the period of stay for visa on arrival extended from 15 days to a maximum of 45 days.
The extension would be effective from the date of approval and run through to December 31, 2022.
Prior to formulating the proposal, TAT examined data from visa applicants at Thai embassies around the world and discovered that tourists wanted to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days, reflecting a trend in travel behavior in which tourists prefer to stay longer in Thailand.
If the extension to the period of stay is approved, TAT expects tourists to stay in Thailand for at least 5 days longer, spending an average of 4,000-5,000 baht per day per person.
Regarding a previous proposal to waive the visa fee for tourist visas and visa on arrival, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the proposal needs to be examined in more detail.
However, Mr Yuthasak believes extending the period of stay is something that could be implemented more quickly.
“Extending the period of stay of tourist visas and VOA is something that can be done faster (compared to waiving the visa fee), so the TAT is preparing for the meeting with CCSA to discuss it on August 19, Mr Yuthasak told Thai language media.
“Since what can be done now should be done first because it needs to be announced ahead of time so that foreign tourists and entrepreneurs can plan accordingly. Regarding visa fee waiver, we need to discuss further at the policy level.” Mr Yuthasak said.
Extending the period of stay for both tourist visas and visa on arrival could bring a significant boost to Thailand’s tourism industry, particularly with from tourists from India.
In the absence of Chinese tourists, TAT has highlighted India as one of its key markets.
Indian tourists are one of the main beneficiaries of the visa on arrival program.