Thailand, renowned for its pristine beaches and bustling markets, is set to take its flourishing tourism industry to new heights. Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, in a recent conversation shared exciting plans that are set to reinvigorate the nation’s tourism scenery. The game-changer? An extension of the visa-free policy currently enjoyed by tourists from China and Kazakhstan, enhancing its allure until February 2024.
Intriguingly, the first phase of this audacious proposal focuses primarily on enveloping nations of Europe and nearby regions. We’re talking about stalwarts such as the UK and Germany, the idyllic Scandinavian nations, and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) like the picturesque Kazakhstan, enigmatic Uzbekistan, and charming Turkmenistan. An exciting bunch indeed!
Considering the limitless opportunities that the visa-free policy has ushered in for Thailand, Sudawan rightly dubs it as a game-changer. Now, the Ministry alongside the ever-dynamic Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are toying with the idea of expanding the visa waiver period for European entrants, renowned for their high expenditure and willingness to splurge.
The primary intent? To fuel an extended stay and allow them to imbibe Thailand’s ethereal beauty and diverse culture without haste.
Sudawan alludes to the fact that European visitors form a significant chunk of international tourists visiting Thailand, a significant 20% to be specific. Last year, the Europeans stayed for an average duration of 18.55 nights per person with an average expenditure of 66,000 baht per trip. Encouragingly, this trend shows an upward spike this year with the average spend estimated to be around 80,000 baht per trip.
With all these figures in sight, it’s no surprise that TAT has set its sights high – a whopping target revenue of 2.5 billion baht from international tourists in 2024, complemented by another 1 trillion baht from Thai tourists. This sums up to a grand total of 3.5 trillion baht in 2024, painting quite an optimistic picture for the entire tourism industry.
The dreams don’t stop there though. Riding on the wave of optimism, the Ministry further intends to boost the revenue from foreign visitors to 3 trillion baht in 2025. A tall order, but Sudawan remains unfazed, pointing out that with global airlines anticipated to bounce back to full capacity by mid-2024, regular flights from European nations to Thailand will become a certainty.
Earlier this month, the revival of the Copenhagen-Bangkok route by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), after a decade-long break, further instills confidence in Thailand’s efforts to tap into the long-haul tourism market from Scandinavia. Clearly, there’s no stopping Thailand from soaring to greater tourism heights!