Thailand is considering expanding visa-free travel to numerous additional countries

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has announced intentions to expand the country’s visa-free travel program to include citizens from a wider range of countries.

This decision comes in the wake of recent initiatives that saw Thailand waive visa requirements for travelers from China and India, with the aim of boosting tourism, a vital contributor to the economy of Southeast Asia’s second-largest nation.

The prime minister emphasized the significant economic impact of the visa waiver for Chinese nationals, citing a substantial increase in tourism activity. While highlighting the success of these initiatives, Thavisin stated plans to extend similar privileges to citizens of several other countries, although specific details were not provided.

“We will not only continue this with China, but also with several other countries,” he remarked.

Statistics demonstrate the positive effects of these measures, with Thailand experiencing a notable surge in foreign tourist arrivals. Between January 1 and February 11, the country welcomed 4.39 million international visitors, marking a significant 48% increase compared to the previous year. Among these arrivals, tourists from China emerged as the leading source market.

With optimism for sustained growth, the Thai government anticipates a substantial rise in foreign visitor numbers for 2024, projecting between 34 to 35 million visitors, up from approximately 28 million the previous year.

This outlook reflects Thailand’s determination to not only recover but surpass pre-pandemic tourism levels, which reached a record high of nearly 40 million foreign visitors in 2019.

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