Thailand has been named as one of the most popular countries in the world for retirees, according to the article “The World’s 7 Most Retiree-Friendly Nations”. The article was published recently by the Huffington Post, an American online news aggregator and blog. The popular online news site’s article looked at countries, such as Malaysia, Ecuador, and Panama that have legislation in place to make it easy for non-native pensioners to apply for retirement stay and are attractive as retirement destinations that offer formal retiree visas with low monthly financial requirements. Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said that Thailand has long been a popular destination for retirees, thanks to advantageous exchange rates that ensure pensions and savings have always gone a lot further here than in more expensive nations.
Thailand is regarded as a welcoming country for people wanting to retire on a long-term basis and the retirement visa does not stipulate an annual minimum stay. In addition, retirees are eligible for visas at the relatively young age of 50 and there are no additional financial requirements for their dependents. Retirement visas are issued when applicants offer proof of income, which currently stands at around 65,000 baht per month, or about 2,100 US dollars. Mr. Thawatchai said that people are also discovering that Thailand offers other advantages to people coming to spend their golden years in the Kingdom. It is a Thai custom to respect senior citizens. The nation can boast great year-round warm weather, easy access to international luxuries, a welcoming culture, and a range of easily accessible accommodation. There is already a large community of expat retirees in Thailand, mostly found in large coastal towns and islands, such as Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, or Samui. Chiang Mai is also a popular spot and boasts a range of accommodation to suit people retiring here. Most retired residents come to enjoy the warm weather, as well as the blend of traditional culture and modern luxuries.
In 2013, Thailand welcomed a total of 26.5 million visitors, representing an increase of 18.76 percent over 2012. Tourists spent an average of 150 US dollars per day in 2013. From January to July 2014, Thailand welcomed 13.6 million visitors. In order to encourage more tourist arrivals, Thailand is offering a three-month tourist visa fee waiver for holders of Chinese and Chinese Taipei passports from August 9 to November 8, 2014. The nation also allows a 30-day extension of stay for visitors from 48 countries and one territory. International tourists visiting Thailand can also now avail themselves of a special online insurance coverage scheme, known as “Thailand Travel Shield,” set up by the TAT in cooperation with four Thai insurance companies.