Thailand Plans To Waive Visas for More Countries, Says PM

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced on Friday that the government plans to offer visa-free travel to citizens of several more countries.

Recently, Thailand lifted visa requirements for Chinese and Indian nationals to boost tourism, a key driver of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

At a meeting in the Government House on Wednesday, Prime Minister Srettha and Australia’s Governor-General David Hurley agreed to explore the possibility of introducing a mutual visa waiver exemption scheme.

This program aims to facilitate travel and business interactions between the citizens of both countries.

On Monday, Prime Minister Srettha expressed his government’s aspiration to establish visa-free agreements with the Schengen-visa states of Europe.

Last year, tourism in Thailand attracted around 28 million international visitors, generating revenue of 1.2 trillion baht.

This was a decrease from the pre-pandemic peak of nearly 40 million tourists and 1.9 trillion baht in earnings, as reported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported that Malaysian tourists were the largest group of visitors to Thailand last year, numbering about 4.5 million, followed by Chinese tourists as the second-largest group, with approximately 3.51 million.

However, since February 1 of this year, Chinese visitors have led with over 533,000 arrivals, followed by Malaysians with over 337,000, and South Koreans with over 229,000.

Before the pandemic in 2019, Chinese tourists were the largest group visiting Thailand, with around 11 million.

With 3 million tourists arriving in January alone, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is optimistic about attracting 35 million international visitors this year.