Though the Thai government is mulling offering free visas to Chinese tourists to rev up demand, the market has been hammered by economic woes and a weak currency, which when coupled with flight and staff shortages could mean the scheme will have little impact, says the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta).
Adith Chairattananon, honorary secretary-general of Atta, said there are two methods of implementation for the Chinese visa policy.
The first method is to allow Chinese visitors to enter without visa, within a certain period of 3-6 months, which will immediately boost this market. The second way is to waive the visa fee but still require travelers to apply for a visa, which is more appropriate for security.
If the government chooses either way, this would help entice Chinese people who travel via neighbouring countries and use visa-on-arrival, as well as groups with 100-1,000 travellers.
However, this policy alone could not help stimulate this market as many Chinese travel companies have yet to recover due to a lack of workers and higher operating costs, unlike big firms that can rapidly adjust their businesses.
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