Thailand recently granted Chinese and Kazakhs a temporary visa exemption in an attempt to boost its tourism industry, which is the main driver of the kingdom’s growth other than exports.
This is a five-month scheme, aiming to lift Thailand’s tourism from the drought caused by Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 when revenue generated from foreign tourists was nearly nonexistent. 2023 showed a significant recovery, following the easing of the pandemic, but it is expected to take another year of two to reach the pre-pandemic level of 40 million tourist arrivals.
The scheme kicked off on September 25, 2023, right before the week-long National Holiday in China. According to the government spokesman Chai Wacharonke, Thailand had welcomed more than 22,000 Chinese travellers on the first two days of the measure.
The report from the Chinese embassy to Thailand showed that about 650,000 mainlanders have booked trips to Thailand in October. Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects Chinese arrivals of around 4-4.4 million this year.
Earlier, the government noted that it expects 2.88 million Chinese visitors during the 5-month period of the scheme, which is slightly higher than the 2.34 million Chinese who have visited the kingdom so far this year.