Thai PM welcomes Chinese and Kazakhstani air travellers

Thai PM welcomes tourists at Thailand Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Events at four of Thailand’s key international airports marked a five-month visa exemption for Chinese and Kazakhstani nationals from 25 September 2023 to 29 February 2024.

In a move to stimulate its tourism industry, Thailand rolled out a warm welcome to tourists from the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The welcoming ceremony, presided over by Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Srettha Thavisin, marked the beginning of a temporary tourist visa exemption scheme, effective from today until February 29, 2024, at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

This initiative aims to kickstart Thailand’s economy, which has been impacted by global events, by attracting visitors from these two key nations.

Thai PM welcomes tourists at Thailand Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Suvarnabhumi Airport welcome. Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Welcoming the Dignitaries

The welcoming ceremony at Suvarnabhumi Airport was a grand affair, with several notable figures in attendance.

Among them were H.E. Mr. Han Zhiqiang, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Ms. Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Ms. Thapanee Kiatphaibool, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

They were accompanied by other esteemed officials and prominent representatives from the public and private sectors.

Phuket Airport welcome. Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Srettha Thavisin expressed the government’s commitment to revitalizing the Thai economy through tourism. He emphasized the significance of this initiative in generating revenue and employment opportunities.

This bold step is in alignment with the government’s “ease of traveling” policy, which involves streamlining visa application procedures and exempting visa fees for tourists from target countries.

Visa Exemption Details

Chinese and Kazakhstani travelers visiting Thailand during this five-month period will enjoy a temporary visa exemption, granting them a 30-day stay for tourism purposes.

This move particularly targets China, a vital market for Thailand, both in terms of revenue and tourist numbers.

In the period from January 1 to September 17, 2023, Thailand welcomed 2,341,080 Chinese visitors, accounting for approximately 37% of the record year in 2019, making China the second-largest market after Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the number of Kazakhstani tourists nearly doubled to 109,865 from 56,529 in 2019, highlighting Kazakhstan’s potential as a high-growth market.

Don Mueang Airport welcome. Photo Credit: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Boosting Thailand Economy

The Thai government is optimistic that the visa exemption scheme will play a pivotal role in boosting the Thai economy and reviving its tourism sector.

By saving time and visa fees, this scheme is expected to expedite travel decisions for Chinese families, tour groups, and incentive travelers, making Thailand their preferred destination during the upcoming Golden Week, New Year, and Chinese New Year holidays.

Ambitious Targets

The government has set ambitious targets for 2023, aiming to attract 25-30 million international tourists and achieve 80% of the revenue achieved in 2019, totaling 1.5 trillion Baht.

The overall tourism revenue target for 2023 stands at 2.38 trillion Baht, encompassing both domestic and international tourists. From January 1 to September 17, 2023, Thailand recorded 19,000,988 foreign visitors.

TAT’s Projections

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has projected that the visa exemption scheme will contribute to attracting 4.01-4.4 million Chinese tourists and achieving a revenue target of 257.5 billion Baht in 2023.

During the five-month stimulus visa period, Thailand anticipates welcoming 2,888,500 Chinese tourists, generating 140.3 billion Baht in revenue. This represents approximately 62% of the record year in 2019.

Moreover, the number of Kazakhstani tourists is expected to reach 150,000 throughout 2023, with 129,485 of them visiting during the five-month period, signifying a remarkable 49.7% increase compared to the same period in the previous year.

This influx of visitors is estimated to generate an income of 7.93 billion Baht.

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