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Thailand, Kazakhstan agree on visa waiver pact to boost tourism

Tan KW
Publish date: Thu, 18 Apr 2024, 10:54 PM
Tan KW
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 Thailand will sign a permanent bilateral visa waiver agreement with Kazakhstan next week, as the Southeast Asian country looks to lift foreign tourist arrivals back to pre-Covid levels. 
 
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s Cabinet approved the visa exemption on Thursday, which will be signed during Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu’s visit to Bangkok on April 23, Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke told reporters on Thursday. 
 
Under the policy, travellers from Kazakhstan will be able to stay in Thailand without a visa for a maximum of 30 days at a time and a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period, Chai said. Thai travellers to Kazakhstan will need to adhere to the same rules, he said. 
 
The programme will take effect 30 days after confirmation that internal procedures in the respective countries have been finalised to enforce the agreement, according to Chai.
 
Thailand has benefitted from an increase in Kazakhstani tourist arrivals since the country rolled out a temporary visa waiver programme that started in September and was extended through to August, according to Chai. 
 
Thailand has seen a more than 40% jump in foreign tourist arrivals this year to about 11 million, as its visa waiver programmes and easier travel rules draw travellers from across the world. Chinese tourists topped the list with about two million visitors, followed by travellers from Malaysia, Russia, South Korea and India, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. 
 
Thailand’s vital tourism industry accounts for 12% of the country’s gross domestic product. This year, the country aims to welcome 35 to 40 million foreign tourists, close to the pre-pandemic record of 40 million visitors in 2019. 
 
The government aims to net 1.8 trillion baht (US$49 billion) in revenue from foreign tourists this year. The earnings totalled 518 billion baht between Jan 1 and April 14, official preliminary data showed this week.
 
 
 
 
  - Bloomberg

 

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