A visa-on-arrival (VOA) waiver intended to boost tourism from 21 countries, China and India among them, has been extended through the end of April.
Initially unveiled in November, the promotion was due to end on Jan. 14, but Tourism and Sport Minister Veerasak Kowsurat yesterday announced that the promotion has proved popular enough to keep it going for another few months, reported Post Today.
The extension will cover two major holidays including Chinese New Year and the world-renowned countrywide water fight that is Songkran, aka Thai New Year.
Citizens of the following country will not have to pay the usual THB2,000 (about US$61) fee: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Sorry, everybody else!
Veerasak said he hopes the extension will continue to encourage tourists from the countries in question, though, unsurprisingly, a handful provided the biggest boost to the bottom line.
“The waiver has yielded positive results… improving the tourist sector in Thailand. More tourists, namely from China, Taiwan and India have applied for the VOA visas,” he said, weirdly forgetting a shoutout to San Marino.
According to Nattaporn Jatusripitak, spokesperson for the deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs, 1.03 million tourists applied for a VOA visas between Nov. 15 and Dec. 27 — a 70 percent increase from the same dates in 2017, reported Thairath.
While extending the waive means the state will lose an estimated THB 2,000 million (US$66 million) in fees over next four months, Nattaporn said he is certain it will pay off in the long run.
He estimates tourist expenditures of THB6,400 million (about US$200 million) from the 21 countries in question over the same period.
A few million baht of profit isn’t too shabby, we guess.