Thailand is set to grant 90-day visa-free entry to more travellers from long-haul countries such as the US and some European countries.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is asking the government to extend visa-free travel to 90 days for long-haul travellers from the US and Europe. According to the Bangkok Post newspaper, the authority aims to raise revenue from long-haul tourism to 40 per cent of the country’s tourism revenue in 2024.

A longer visa-free period will help increase the average length of stay in the country and maximise travel costs, said Siripakorn Cheawsamut, deputy head of the tourism authority for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.

Thailand currently offers visa-free entry to citizens of more than 60 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, France and Scandinavian countries. Most of them are allowed to stay in the country for up to 30 days without the need for visas.

The extension of visa-free stay for Russian travellers was successful after the Thai government temporarily allowed a 90-day visa-free stay in November last year, Siripakorn said.

Siripakorn said more than 100,000 foreign tourists applied for a tourist visa last year, allowing them to stay in Thailand for 60 days. Most of these tourists are from – the US, UK, Sweden and Germany.

“The extension of the visa-free stay will add at least one million overnight stays in rooms across the country,” Siripakorn said.

The tourism authority has also asked the National Tourism Policy Committee to pursue other measures to improve the situation of travellers before the end of this year.

These include suspending the issuance of TM6 forms at border crossings between Thailand and Malaysia, a 90-day visa-free stay for Russians and a 30-day visa-free stay for Kazakh tourists. These proposals will require cabinet approval, Siripakorn said.
Thailand will grant 90-day visa-free travel to the US and Europe
Foreign tourists at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is targeting a new high of 10 million long-haul tourists in 2024, or 30 per cent of Thailand’s expected 35 million foreign tourists. Before the pandemic in 2019, Thailand received 9 million long-haul tourists or 23 per cent of the 40 million foreign visitors. Revenue from such tourists accounted for 33 per cent of the total revenue of 1.9 trillion baht.

Siripakorn said that this winter, long-haul flights to Thailand have recovered to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, helping to boost arrivals.

The tourism authority also intends to encourage international airlines to open new routes to less congested airports in destinations such as Surat Thani and Utapao in Chonburi province, Krabi and Chiang Mai.

Despite geopolitical tensions such as the Red Sea conflict and Europe’s sluggish economy, overseas tourism remains important for European travellers,” Siripakorn said. Tourists from Europe tend to stay longer in Thailand as affordable accommodation prices in the kingdom offset high airfares.

Siripakorn expects some major markets to post-record arrivals this year, with up to 2 million Russian travellers and the number of tourists from the US, UK, and Germany exceeding 1 million.

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