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Thailand’s Decisive Steps to Boost Arrivals

In response to declines in tourism numbers from certain source nations, Thailand is undertaking urgent and decisive steps to increase tourist arrivals. The measures quickly implemented include free visas, visa-on-arrival facilities, longer stays permitted for student visitors, and reduced minimum insurance levels for foreign pensioners residing in the Kingdom. 

As reported by, a Thai Government spokesperson, Chai Wacharonke, described the steps being taken by immigration to assist the national economy, which is heavily dependent on the tourism sector. 

The most recent changes in visa policies have increased the number of countries eligible for free visas from 57 to 93. Among the list of new countries whose citizens are now eligible for free visas are  Albania, Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mexico, Marocco, Panama, Rumania, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. 

The length of stay for tourist visas has increased to 60 days.

The Thai National Cabinet has agreed to Visa-on-Arrival for 31 countries, up from the previous list of 19 countries granted Visa-on-Arrival. 

Tourist visitors to Thailand intending to tour the country with an eye to seeking future employment can stay for 180 days, which is extendable for a further 180 days. These visitors can convert their immigration status to a new visa valid for five years. Previously, tourist visitors could stay for only 30 days, which was extendable for a final additional 30 days. 

These urgently implemented changes in Thai immigration policies, described by Chai Wacharonke as a “Destination Thailand Visa,” aim to stimulate visits by digital nomads, long-distance workers, and free-lance workers, as well as those wishing to study the Thai martial art of Muay Thai or learn Thai culinary skills. 

The new visa policy also contemplates steps to assist foreigners seeking higher education opportunities in the Kingdom of Thailand. 

Scholars can now remain in Thailand for one year after completing a college or university program. Chai explained that foreigners who have graduated from a higher education program in Thailand can now explore employment opportunities in their chosen field. 

The recent relaxation in visa rules took effect from 01 June 2024.

According to the Bangkok Post, pensioners over 50 years of age seeking to live in Thailand are now only required to hold minimum health insurance coverage valued at Rp. 440,000 baht (US$12,000), lower than the previous minimum coverage of 3 million Baht (US$81,500).

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