TOURISM-RELIANT Thailand is lining up hundreds of cultural and sporting events, and may waive visa requirements for travellers from more European countries, as it works to induce holidaymakers to stay longer and spend more.
The South-East Asian nation is discussing a plan to let tourists of some European nationalities stay as long as 90 days, Prommin Lertsuridej, a top aide to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, said in an interview on Thursday.
There will also be about 3,000 events organised through to next year to draw tourists, he said.
Srettha, who became prime minister in August, has identified tourism as a “quick win” to accelerate Thailand’s economic growth.
His administration has temporarily waived visa requirements for travellers from Russia, China, Kazakhstan, India and Taiwan, and ordered airlines to add more routes while streamlining airport operations to cut waiting time for visitors.
It also plans to allow nightlife venues in some areas of Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chonburi to operate until 4am starting next month.
While Thailand has rolled back most pandemic-era curbs on visitors, average spending per traveller has lagged pre-Covid-19 levels.
In 2019, the country saw record foreign arrivals – almost 40 million – which generated 1.91 trillion baht in revenue.
As of Nov 12 this year, Thailand has welcomed 23.2 million foreign tourists and received 981.7 billion baht (RM129.7bil) in foreign tourist receipts. — Bloomberg