Thailand will extend the maximum period of stay for foreign visitors between Oct. 1 and Mar. 31 to boost its tourism-dependent economy, which has been booming since the easing of border restrictions.
Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the Centre for COVID-19 situation Administration (CCSA) spokesperson, said Friday that the visa on arrival—which applies to nationals from India, China, and Saudi Arabia—will be extended from 15 to 30 days starting in October.
In addition, the maximum stay for visa-exempt travelers will be extended from 30 days to 45 days.
The government aims to shift the country into the endemic phase of COVID-19 in October following a drop in severe cases and deaths.
Taweesilp said the change would permit national and provincial committees to manage the outbreak, as opposed to the current situation in which the CCSA is the sole agency to deal with the disease.
Rebuilding TourismThailand has seen a rebound of sorts in its tourism sector, with 3.78 million tourist arrivals from January to August, the majority of which came from Malaysia, India, and Singapore. Taweesilp said the sector yielded 176 billion baht ($4.94 billion) in revenues.
The foreign arrivals plummeted to 428,000 last year, compared with a record of nearly 40 million in 2019, contributing to about 12 percent of the country’s economy.
Thailand’s Finance Ministry projected 8 million to 10 million visitor arrivals this year, exceeding an earlier prediction of 7 million.
300-baht Tourism FeeThe Thai government also intends to impose a 300-baht ($8) tourism fee on all international arrivals, which will serve as insurance coverage of up to 500,000 baht ($14,000) for accidents caused by a riot, terrorism attacks, and natural disasters.
The fee will be applied to international air travelers regardless of nationality or visa type, said Mongkon Wimonrat, assistant permanent secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, reported Bangkok Post.
Mongkon did not specify when the tourism fee will be enforced.
The government initially planned to exempt diplomats and expatriates from paying the fee, but Mongkon stated that such exemptions are no longer possible because the fee will be embedded in the airline ticketing system.
“The 300-baht fee will guarantee insurance coverage during foreigners’ stay in Thailand for up to 30 days,” he said.