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New Visa Options Proposed to Attract More Chinese Tourists to Thailand

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CHIANG RAI – The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) is proposing three new visa options for Chinese tourists, which it believes will attract more Chinese visitors to Thailand and help achieve this year’s goal of getting 10 million Chinese tourists to visit Thailand.

The first option is to waive the 1,000 baht fee of the single entry visa for Chinese tourists, said Wichit Prakobkosol, president of the ATTA, at a meeting organized Friday by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to discuss measures for boosting the number of Chinese tourists.

In case this visa option is rejected by the cabinet, the second option will be to offer Chinese tourists multiple entries for a certain period as allowed under the multiple entry visa but charge them the rate of the single entry visa, 1,000 baht, he said.

Chinese tourists are now charged 5,000 baht for the multiple entry visa, he said.

And if this option is also rejected by the cabinet, the third option will be to allow Chinese tourists granted with the single entry visa two entries as allowed under the double entry visa, he said.

He said that these visa privileges are proposed to cope with the changing situation of Chinese tourists in Thailand that has been affected by three major incidents — the capsize of the dive boat Phoenix on July 5 that drowned 47 Chinese tourists, a Chinese tourist being physically assaulted by Don Mueang airport security guard recently and the problem of bribe taking by some immigration officers at Don Mueang airport.

These proposed visa options will be submitted to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat at a major workshop on improvement of safety in tourism scheduled to be held on Oct 18, he said.

Chattan Kunjara na Ayudhya, TAT deputy governor for policy and planning, said the TAT plans to launch a new marketing promotion for operators of charter flights between China’s main cities and Thailand.

Marketing campaigns for these charter flight operators will be provided free of charge, he said.

Seven to eight Chinese cities will be included in this tourism promotion program including Qingdao, Xiamen and Chongqing, he said.