BANGKOK - Asian tourist hotspot, Thailand is set to waive visa requirements for visitors from India and Taiwan starting next month until May 2024.
The initiative is aimed at bolstering tourist numbers as the high season approaches and follows Thailand's earlier decision in September to eliminate visa requirements for Chinese tourists, who were the country's primary source of tourism before the pandemic.
From January to October 29 this year, Thailand welcomed 22 million visitors, contributing to a revenue of 927.5 billion baht ($25.67 billion) as per the official figures.
The Thai government is relying on foreign tourists to spur economic growth though a recent incident of violence at a shopping mall in Bangkok may disrupt the plans of tourists.
As far as concessions for China are concerned, the kingdom's newly formed cabinet announced that Chinese tourists will enjoy visa-free entry to the country from the end of September under a temporary scheme.
Under the existing arrangement, Chinese can apply for a visa on arrival but they need travel insurance, hotel bookings, and proof of funds for a maximum stay of 15 days.
Thai Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin’s new government has now approved the Visa Free policy, which will allow tourists from Kazakhstan and China to enter Thailand freely from September 25 through the end of February 2024.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, around 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited the country in the first six months of this year and the government was expecting a drop in the arrivals against the expected initial target of 5 million.
Thailand´s vital tourism sector contributes almost 20 percent of to GDP but has faced challenges in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year, Thailand experienced a significant decline in Chinese tourist arrivals. Prior to the pandemic, Thailand welcomed approximately 11 million Chinese tourists in 2019.
The government earlier said that overall foreign tourist arrivals were 9.47 million from January to mid-May, compared with 11.15 million visitors in the whole of 2022.
Pakistani rupee remains stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 22, 2024 (Thursday)
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.6 for buying and 282.4 for selling.
Euro comes down to 300.2 for buying and 303.2 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 350.6 for buying, and 354.1 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.2 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.45.
|UK Pound Sterling
|Hong Kong Dollar
|New Zealand Dollar