Thailand may extend visa exemption beyond 6 months

Thailand: Visa Exemption for Indian Tourists Until May 2024

Thailand : Thapanee Kiatphaibool, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and Nagesh Singh, the Ambassador of India to Thailand, came together to welcome the first batch of Indian tourists benefiting from the Thailand Visa Exemption on November 10, 2023. IndiGo Flight 6E 1639 marked the beginning of a special period allowing Indians visa-free entry until May 10, 2024.

Thailand Visa

The gates of Suvarnabhumi Airport resonated with warmth as Governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool and Ambassador Nagesh Singh greeted arriving tourists with vibrant orchids and thoughtful souvenirs. This unexpected gesture left a lasting impression on the travellers, many of whom decided to extend their stay, taking advantage of the 30-day allowance provided by the visa exemption.

India holds a significant position among Thailand’s top 10 source markets for tourists. The surge in Indian visitors during the first 10 months of 2023 reached an impressive 86% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, totalling 1,302,483 arrivals.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) anticipates a substantial boost with the visa exemption scheme, aiming for 1.6 million Indian tourists in 2023, contributing an estimated 65.6 billion baht in revenue.

Ambassador Nagesh Singh expressed his admiration for Thailand’s proactive approach, stating, “Thailand was a tourism superpower with 40 million visitors annually before Covid. To revive the industry critical for their economy, they have done this gesture which shows the trust they have in India.”

Travellers also lauded the streamlined immigration process, with Virender Singh from Delhi noting, “It just took five to 10 minutes for all of us at the immigration counter.”

Governor Kiatphaibool acknowledged India’s significance, stating, “India is the fourth largest inbound market of tourists for Thailand, with 1.32 million visitors, which is huge.” When questioned about the potential extension of the scheme, Kiatphaibool mentioned that the decision would depend on feedback from tour operators and travellers, expressing openness to further extensions.

Echoing this sentiment, Ambassador Nagesh Singh hinted at the possibility of a long-term collaboration, saying, “This could also become a permanent thing if this eventually works out with positive growth.”

Indian tourists, on average, stay in Thailand for 7-8 days, but with the visa exemption, many are considering extending their trips. Dilshad Singh from Chandigarh shared, “We came to know of this visa exemption rule and therefore extended our trip by 10 days.”

Looking ahead, Thai tourism businesses are invited to join TAT’s participation at two major trade shows in India in 2024, including the Outbound Travel Market (OTM) in Mumbai on February 8-10 and South Asia’s Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi on February 22-24.

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