Thailand waives visa fee as part of drive to revive tourism


Continuing its efforts to expedite the revival of the Thai travel and tourism industry, the Royal Thai government has agreed to exempt the fee for tourist visa applications for a three month period, effective March 5, 2009 to June 4, 2009.

Thailand presently gives Visa on Arrival for citizens of 20 countries for a stay not exceeding 15 days. Citizens of another 42 countries are allowed a visa-free stay in Thailand not over 30 days. Those who wish to stay longer than those periods have to apply for visas at the Thai embassies or diplomatic missions abroad before their arrival in Thailand.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is personally spearheading efforts to revive the tourism industry and boost the country’s competitive position to offset the impact of the global financial crisis.

Mrs. Phornsiri Manoharn, TAT Governor, said: “The support we are getting from the highest levels of the Royal Thai government is a clear indication that Thai travel and tourism is back to business with excellent deals and marketing support for our friends in the travel trade. Thailand is and continues to be a wonderful diverse tourism destination with great beaches, food, spas, hotels, nature, sports, and smiles, and is fabulous value for money. We welcome all visitors from around the world.”

On 3ebruary 3, 2009, the Thai Cabinet approved a visa exemption scheme for transit passengers through Suvarnabhumi International Airport who must wait long hours to catch a connecting flight. The waiver will allow transit passengers to temporarily leave the airport premises on a short visit or to shop at places near the airport without a visa.

Thailand welcomes a thousand of transit passengers daily, many of whom must stay at the airport for up to eight hours.

In 2009, TAT is conservatively expecting 14 million visitor arrivals, with tourism revenue projected at 505 billion baht (US$14.46 billion).