Thailand has temporarily waived its regular visa fee and halved the visa-on-arrival fee for tourists from China and 17 other countries. China has more tourists visiting Thailand than any other country.
The visa fee will be lifted from the beginning of this month until the end of February. The fee had been 1,000 baht (194 yuan) for visas obtained at Thai embassies and consulates. The visa on arrival fee, normally 2,000 baht (388 yuan), will be cut to 1,000 baht, said assistant Thai government spokesman Apisit Chaiyanuwat.
Tourists from any of the 17 other countries — Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan — can enjoy the same reduced visa policy during these three months.
The temporary visa policy is primarily aimed at attracting more visitors to Thailand over the winter months and raising tourism-related earnings, Chaiyanuwat said.
Meanwhile, Thailand's long-stay visa for foreigners will be extended from a maximum of one year to 10 years, on the condition that the visa holder has a minimum of 3 million baht (582,050 yuan) in a bank account or a minimum of 100,000 baht (19,402 yuan) in monthly income.
(By Wing Xie, Louis Berney)