Thailand will offer a visa-free scheme to tourists from India and Taiwan, as part of the government’s plan to rebuild its key tourism sector after being hit by the pandemic.
“We will offer a visa-free scheme to India and Taiwan because many of their citizens like to travel to Thailand,” Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting, Tuesday (31/10).
Citizens of India and Taiwan are entitled to stay in Thailand for up to 30 days in a six-month trial, which will start next month.
Thailand’s tourism sector contributes almost 20 percent of overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product), but this sector has struggled to bounce back since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Until now, tourists from India and Taiwan had to apply for a 15-day on-arrival visa at the immigration checkpoint, by showing a bank account and proof of accommodation.
The move comes after the government opened a similar visa-free scheme for Chinese tourists in September.
Government spokesman Chai Watcharong said authorities hoped the scheme would attract an additional 1.4 million tourists, and generate additional revenue of 55 billion baht ($1.5 billion).
According to Tourism Ministry data, around 1.2 million Indians visited Thailand in the first nine months of 2023, the fourth highest number after Malaysia, China and South Korea.
Srettha, who took power in August after months of political wrangling following elections in May, said boosting the tourism sector and stimulating the economy were among his top priorities.
Source : VOA