Thailand is experiencing an influx of foreign visitors as the government's visa-free policy for tourists from countries including China has given the industry a much-needed boost.
Thailand is experiencing an influx of foreign visitors as the government's visa-free policy for tourists from countries including China has given the industry a much-needed boost. Under the agreement, holders of valid, ordinary Thai passports and Chinese holders of passports for public affairs and ordinary passports will be exempt from visa requirements when entering or transiting through the other country for up to 30 days. The Tourism Authority of Thailand said Malaysians made up the largest group of visitors to Thailand, with around 4.5 million visitors last year while Chinese tourists formed the second-largest group with about 3.51 million visitors. Seasonality factor According to the Kasikorn Research Centre, a subsidiary of KBank, the Chinese formed the biggest group of tourists visiting Thailand last month due to several factors, including a seasonality factor as Chinese travellers often go on holidays toward the end of the year or soon after for Chinese New Year, which fell on Feb 10 this year. Another factor is Thailand's visa-exemption measure for Chinese tourists, which started on Sept 25 last year. Surawat Akaraworamat, vice-presi\xad- dent of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told the Bangkok Post that Chinese tourists have entered Thailand visa-free since September last year. Mr Thaneth also said that after Thailand and China signed the agreement on the reciprocal visa-free scheme, about 370 direct flights from China to Phuket have been booked for this month, with an expected surge of free independent travellers from China.