China will be the first country in which Thailand’s new e-visa service is available, with applicants in Beijing being able to apply and pay online for a Thai visa as of 15 February 2019. The service will expand to other Chinese cities on 1 March, then to Britain and France and eventually worldwide within three years.
The choice of China as launch market for the new online visa isn’t surprising. Chinese visitors top the list of foreign arrivals to Thailand, although numbers have dropped since a July tour boat tragedy off Phuket claimed the lives of 47 Chinese tourists. Since then the kingdom has been making a particular effort to reinstall confidence in its number one source market.
The Department of Consular Affairs said the e-visa service would be available in Britain and France within 1 April, and in all countries with Thai embassies and consulates within three years.
The department is partnering with Kasikornbank in the new e-visa, which will handle the payments side. The bank’s president Predee Daochai said Kasikorn’s electronic transactions service could be used with credit cards, QR codes and through internet banking. E-visa applicants in China would be able to pay through WeChat Pay, AliPay and Union Pay.