Thailand is scrapping visas for scores of Indian tourists in order to rekindle the fire in its tourism sector. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters after a cabinet meeting yesterday that between Nov. 10 this year and May 10, 2024, Indian tourists will be able to enter Thailand without a visa.
Taiwan has also been included in the plan in a bid to draw in more tourists as the high season approaches. Thailand in September scrapped visa requirements for Chinese tourists. India has been Thailand’s fourth largest source market for tourism so far this year with about 1.2 million arrivals after Malaysia, China and South Korea. Inbound tourism from India showed signs of growth as more airlines and hospitality chains targeted that market.
In a move to boost tourism, Thailand is set to waive off visa requirements for travellers coming from India as well as Taiwan from the coming month to May 2024, said a government official in a statement on Tuesday (Oct 31).
“Arrivals from India and Taiwan can enter Thailand for 30 days,” spokesperson Chai Wacharonke said.
Thailand had scrapped visa requirements for Chinese tourists in September this year.
China ranked first in Bangkok’s pre-pandemic tourism market with 11 million of the record 39 million arrivals in 2019.
As per the latest government data, nearly 22 million people visited Thailand from January to October 29, generating 927.5 billion baht ($25.67 billion).
India, Thailand’s fourth largest source market for tourism
So far this year, India has been Thailand’s fourth largest source market for tourism with nearly 1.2 million arrivals after countries like Malaysia, China and South Korea.
With more airlines and hospitality chains targeting the market, inbound tourism from India exhibited signs of growth.
Thailand is aiming at about 28 million arrivals in 2023, with the new government hoping the travel sector can compensate for continued weak exports that have restrained economic growth.
Last week, in a similar move, Sri Lanka had announced visa-free entry for India as well as six other countries, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand, in a bid to boost tourism with immediate effect until March 21, 2024.
The country’s foreign affairs minister Ali Sabry made the announcement on Tuesday (Oct 24) on social media platform X.
“Cabinet approves issuing of free visas to India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia & Thailand with immediate effect as a pilot project till 31 March,” he said.