The Thai government has announced it will extend the visa-on-arrival (VOA) fee waiver for citizens of 20 countries, including India and China, for another six months, until 31 October. Officials said the measure will help stimulate and promote tourism as well as to enhance the kingdom’s attractiveness among foreign visitors.
Citizens of Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand for not more than 15 days.
The government first approved the visa-on-arrival fee waiver from 15 November, 2018, to 14 January, 2019, and further extended the measure to 30 April. Thai news site Thairath reported that waiving the VOA fee had helped with an increase in the number of foreigners visiting Thailand.
Between Nov 15 to March 31, 3.58 million foreigners visited Thailand, an increase of 83 percent compared to the 1.6 million visitors during the same period in the previous year. Thairath also reported that while waiving the VOA fee resulted government losing 2.95 billion baht in revenue, it helped to draw more foreign tourists who generated 104.616 billion baht in tourism revenue.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg recently reported that Thailand suffered a rare combined drop in tourist arrivals and spending in March, signaling a rocky first quarter for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.
The number of visitors fell 0.7 percent from a year ago to 3.5 million, official figures out Friday and data compiled by Bloomberg show. Foreign tourism receipts slid 1.3 percent to 184.5 billion baht ($5.8 billion). Chinese holidaymakers have driven a years-long boom but arrival numbers have declined for two straight months. However, the news site also reported a significant 35 percent increase in visitors from India.