Just a bit over a week ago we reported that the Thai government had waived the tourist visa fee of usually 1,000 Baht and reduced the visa on arrival fee for tourists from 19 countries from December 1 to February 28.
Nice move. Unfortunately however, the offer only appeared to apply to nationals from the following countries: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
In other words, it was a scheme to lure Chinese tourists to Thailand whose numbers have fallen drastically since the government’s crackdown on so-called “zero dollar tours”.
(Most) Western tourists a.k.a. Farangs were not to benefit from the promotion it seemed.
Now either the government have changed their mind and revised the scheme or it was all just misinformation or misreporting from the beginning. Because, it has emerged now, the promotion doesn’t apply exclusively to the Chinese, Indians etc. but to ALL nationalities.
In other words, anyone can get a free single-entry tourist visa from December through the end of February next year. (The promotion does not apply to multiple-entry tourist visa and is initially limited to three months.)
Thaivisa.com reported yesterday that
notices posted outside the Royal Thai Embassies in Vientiane and Washington DC and at the Royal Thai Consulate in Penang suggests that ALL applicants will now be exempt from paying the 1,000 baht fee. (…)
A report from Vientiane that the single entry tourist visa fee was being waived was first posted on Thaivisa on Thursday, with further reports from other Thai embassies and consulates around the world seemed to confirm that Thailand had extended its offer of waiving the tourist visa fee from 19 nations to all applicants.
While we doubt that saving a whopping 1,000 Baht (or whatever the equivalent may be in your currency) will boost tourist arrivals much, the promotion obviously illustrates that arrival numbers so far this “high season” have apparently fallen short of the usual figures. Needless to add that it also casts doubt on the government’s nonstop hype of ever-growing record tourist arrivals.
Full report at Thaivisa.com.