Thailand extends visa exemption plan for Indians to keep economy in check

NEW DELHI: In a bid to revive its sluggish economy, the Thailand government has extended a visa exemption plan for Indian and Taiwanese tourists for six more months, reported Bloomberg.
The decision would allow tourists from India and Taiwan to enter the Southeast Asian nation without a visa until November 11. The decision comes days before the end of the existing waiver.
Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that travellers could stay for a maximum of 30 days at a time under the rules.
The extension is seen as a possible outcome of the successful initial waiver in November 2023. Indian and Taiwanese tourists are normally allowed to stay in Thailand for 15 days under a visa-on-arrival scheme.
Tourism-reliant Thailand has been relaxing visa rules for travellers from some of its main markets including China and Russia.
In the first four months of 2024, Thailand welcomed more than 1.2 crore foreign tourists, representing a 39 per cent increase from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Tourists from India, China, Malaysia, Russia and South Korea were the largest groups of visitors, who accounted for half of the total arrivals in 2024.
Tourism, a key contributor to Thailand’s economy, creates 20 per cent of total jobs and pumps about 12 per cent in the nation’s $500 billion economy.
Srettha’s administration has set a goal of attracting 80 million tourists by 2027.
Last year, India was the fifth-largest contributor of foreign visitors to Thailand. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, it projected 1.6 million Indian visitors in 2023, an 86% rise over 2022.
This year, TAT has targeted 1.8 million Indian visitors. West Bengal and Kolkata accounted for around 1.6 lakh visitors last year. This year, around 2 lakh visitors from Bengal could visit the country.


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