Thailand Offers Foreign Tourists New Visa, Tax Refund, Shopping Incentives

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If you’re still deciding on where to visit this Christmas-New Year holiday season, a host of incentive measures Thailand has launched to woo more foreign tourists in the peak season may help sway your favour.

In what’s called the ‘Amazing Thailand Grand Sale: Passport Privileges’ campaign, the measures went into effect on Thursday and are to run until 15 January 2019. They are:

  • A double-entry visa for six months for foreign tourists who apply for a single-entry visa
  • Foreign tourists already granted a visa can travel to neighbouring countries with no need to acquire a new visa
  • Expats working in neighbouring countries can travel to Thailand via land without any limitations
  • Additional tax refund centres for foreign tourists will open at tourism spots and department stores, and fast-lane immigration lanes will be provided at international airports
  • More discounts will be offered on products popular with foreign tourists – like cosmetics, apparel and electrical appliances – on top of the normal discounts already offered by department stores, goods/product producers and credit card companies.

The measures were given the green light at the weekly cabinet meeting, and followed the previous week’s approval of the waiver of the THB 2,000 (USD 60) visa-on-arrival fee for the 21 nations it is available to.

Those 21 are Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

It was announced in the Royal Gazette that the visa fee waiver would be in effect from 15 November 2018 to 13 January 2019.

In the first 10 months of 2018 Thailand welcomed 31 million international visitors, up 7.83 percent over the 2017 January-October period. It’s hoped the newly announced tourism incentive measures will help the kingdom achieve the 2018 target of 38 million tourists for what would be another record year after 2017’s record-setting 35.38 million international visitor arrivals.

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