16 June 2022
Tourism operators have reached an agreement with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to propose a visa fee exemption for international arrivals.
An eligibility extension may also be available for visitors from nations not requiring a visa to enter the country from 30 to 45 days during the second half of 2022, as reported in the Bangkok Post on 12 June.
A joint meeting between TAT and more than 100 representatives from ten tourism associations ended with five proposals, which are expected to be presented to the subcommittee of the Centre for COVID Situation Administration (CCSA) next week.
“We are pleased Thailand has not only revised arrival rules and relaxed COVID measures for international visitors, but also that the country continues to move forward in their efforts to welcome back foreign-flagged vessels to once again cruise these beautiful waters,” reports Asia Pacific Superyachts co-founders in Thailand, Gordon Fernandes and Jojo and Captain Charlie Dwyer.
“All tourists should have been treated on an equal basis,” said Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association.
“If possible, we should also provide a fee waiver for multiple entry to allow them to visit neighbouring countries during the same trip.
“This could be a good opportunity for us to lead the reopening of CLMV.”
TAT reports that at present, Thailand grants a visa exemption to 56 countries whose citizens don’t have to apply for a visa or pay the 1,000-baht fee, but the stay is limited to 30 days.
However, most countries, including potential markets such as India, still require visitors to apply for a visa and pay an application fee for a stay of no more than 60 days.
“As the government previously extended the right to remain in the country from 30 to 45 days during the period when quarantine was required, if tourism operators want to seek another extension, it should not be an obstacle,” said Mr Yuthasak.
“We totally agree with the proposal to waive the visa fee for those who must apply for a visa, in addition to extending the length of stay for both visa-free countries and the VOA,” said Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association.
In addition to visa issues, the private sector also agreed to ask the CCSA to lift restrictions on night entertainment hours by returning to the same practices adopted by each area before the pandemic.
They also support the idea of promoting Thailand as a mask-free destination by revoking the mask mandate in all areas. Masks can be suggested for congested spaces or indoors. Private operators such as hotels or restaurants can make their own decision on whether to require their staff to wear a mask, according to the meeting.
Most representatives also agreed with the Tourism and Sport Ministry’s proposal to cancel the Thailand Pass system, meaning the only requirements for visitors to the country would be vaccine certificates and insurance. This has yet to be determined.
Temperature checks at all locations should be halted as experience has shown this measure cannot practically identify those infected with the virus, said the representatives.