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Free visas not enough for Thailand to welcome Chinese revival

09/01/2023| 6:01:34 PM|

Even though Chinese travel agents are optimistic about policies from the new government, they are awaiting more clarity about tourism measures.

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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TAGS: visa | Thailand
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