To counter a slowdown at the end of last year due to a ban on zero-dollar tour packages towards Chinese travellers, the Thai Government introduced discounted and waived visa fees to citizens of a series of countries who can only come with a visa to the Kingdom. The new visa-on-arrival fee are has been halved to 1,000 baht (US$28.50).
The Ministry of tourism indicated last week that the measure, implemented from early December until the end of February, already generated an additional 12.5% more tourists until early February.
Last week, the Prayut Government decided consequently to extend the free visa incentive for another period of six months, which would then allow most travellers to come for free or at a reduced rate until the end of August. The measure applies to citizens of 21 countries.
The cabinet on Tuesday extended by six months to August free visas at Thai consulates and embassies and discounts on visas on arrival for visitors from 21 countries (Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan).
Talking to the Bangkok Post, Thailand government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern explained that a solution to compensate the Foreign Ministry will be found as the loss in revenues is estimated to cost about THB7.5 billion from normal visa fees during the six-month period of the measure.
Rumours regularly circulate about the fact that government’s coffers are a bit tight, an information that Thailand Ministry of Finance already denied…