Thailand: Waiving Visa Fees For Three Months

Posted: January 16, 2009 in World
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Thailand national flag

Thailand to rejuvenate tourism industry amid recent political crisis

Thailand is considering waiving visa fees for three months in a bid to revive its key tourism industry, which has been battered by political turmoil that culminated in the occupation of Bangkok’s two airports late last year.

The measure according to The Associated Press(AP), already approved by the government’s economic ministers, will be proposed to the full Cabinet next week, Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said Friday.

‘We hope this will be one of many measures that will boost the tourism industry in Thailand amid the global slowdown and following the political crisis,’ Juthaporn said.

Residents of many neighboring and Western countries already enjoy visa-free entry privileges for short visits, but those planning longer stays must obtain visas in advance for a fee of at least $30 per entry.

Earlier this week, Thailand’s new government allocated 1 billion baht ($28.6 million) of its 115-billion-baht ($3.3 billion) fiscal stimulus package to rejuvenate the tourism industry, which accounts for about 5 percent of the country’s economy.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who took office last month, earlier said the government will also consider discounts on aircraft landing fees.

Anti-government protests last year included the weeklong seizure of Bangkok’s airports at the end of November, stranding more than 300,000 travelers.

The Bank of Thailand has estimated the country would lose 290 billion baht ($8.3 billion) as a result of the protests, which called for the ouster of the previous government led by allies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. They accused Thaksin of corruption and abuse of power.

The central bank forecast that tourist arrivals this year would drop by 8.8 percent from 12.8 million in 2008.

Deputy government spokesman Puttipong Punnakan said the Cabinet plans to discuss other measures as well, including a short-term reduction in interest rates and property tax for hotel operators, and a reduction of airport surcharges, as well as discounts on air tickets.

P/S: A good way to promote Thailand back to tourists from all the things that had happened recently to the white-elephant country. Owh, maybe if they add a bit more promotion such as what Australia did to promote the Great Barrier reafs, people would be even more psyched! haha!

  1. Wow, this is very interesting and something I had not heard about anywhere. I am very interested in traveling for the future so I will keep Thailand in mind! Thanks for commenting on my post, I have added you to my blog roll so I hope you can add me too! Keep the great info and posts coming! 🙂

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