Home Travel Thailand Extends Visa Exemption to Boost Indian Tourism

Thailand Extends Visa Exemption to Boost Indian Tourism

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In a significant move aimed at rekindling the allure of Thailand as a tourist destination, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Srettha Thavisin, announced that Indians and Taiwanese travelers will enjoy visa-free entry into the country from November 10 to May 10 next year. This decision, reached during a cabinet meeting, is expected to have a profound impact on the tourism industry, attracting travelers from India and Taiwan during the forthcoming year-end holiday season and the off-season.

Reigniting the Passion for Thailand

Previously, Thailand had been a beloved international destination for Indians, and tour operators anticipate that the visa exemption will draw even more tourists from the city. Sources within the Tourism Authority of Thailand reveal that travelers will be granted a 30-day stay without requiring a visa, provided they possess a valid passport and a return ticket.

This move follows a similar announcement by Sri Lanka, which also offered visa exemption to Indian tourists. The Thai government’s goal is to reinvigorate its tourism industry, which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Thailand welcomed around 2 million Indian tourists each year, but during the pandemic, this number dropped significantly, with only 1.2 million Indian tourists visiting Thailand until September this year.

Boosting Travel

Tour operators have noted that obtaining a Thai visa was previously a cumbersome process, requiring Indian travelers to spend Rs 3,000 and maintain a minimum balance of Rs 70,000 in their bank accounts. Moreover, the visa application process took three to five working days to complete. Thailand also offers a visa-on-arrival option, which, according to tour operators, costs around Rs 5,000. With the new visa exemption, traffic to Thailand is expected to surge, even during the off-season.

Anil Punjabi, a national committee member of the Travel Agents Federation of India, representing the eastern region, stated that they are already receiving queries from travelers planning year-end holidays. Additionally, last-minute weekend tourists are also expected to choose Thailand as a destination, given the convenience of visa exemption.

Airlines are equally enthusiastic about the announcement. Flights from Kolkata to Bangkok are currently running at 60-70% capacity on average, but with the visa exemption, this is anticipated to increase to 80-85%. Industry sources also reveal that several airlines are offering return tickets on the Kolkata-Bangkok route for less than Rs 20,000, making it a more affordable option compared to some domestic destinations during peak holiday seasons.

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