Thailand to allow foreign tourists to extend stay as Covid eases

THAILAND will permit an extended length of stay for foreign tourists between October and March in a bid to support its economic recovery as pressures from Covid-19 ease.

Foreigners from 18 territories coming to Thailand under the visa on arrival category will be allowed to double their length of stay for up to 30 days, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand’s main Covid task force said on Friday. Those from more than 50 places that currently get 30 days will be able to stay for up to 45 days.

Thailand is hoping rising tourist arrivals will help boost its economic growth this year even though the pace is still expected to be the lowest in the Southeast Asia region. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 17, the nation gained 176.3 billion baht ($4.9 billion) in revenue from 3.78 million foreign arrivals. The number of tourists jumped 3,214% from the same period last year.

“We are looking to extending their stay,” Taweesilp said. “This will help boost tourist spending, revive the economy and reduce impact from the pandemic.

Earlier this month, a government spokesman said the nation expects to attract 10 million international tourists this year, compared with the 6.1 million forecast in April. The number of visitors is seen rising to 30 million people next year, still shy of the 40 million who traveled to the country in the year before Covid spread.

READ: Thai Hotels Are Boosting Investment Budgets on Tourism Revival

Thailand will downgrade Covid-19 from a “dangerous” communicable disease to one that “needs monitoring” starting from September, a month earlier than scheduled. –BLOOMBERG