Thailand extends visa fee waivers to boost tourism as growth slows

Tuesday, 2019-08-20 16:10:09
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More than 2.3 million locals and foreign visitors are expected to join Songkran festivals next month. (Photo: Thephuketnews)
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Thailand will extend until April next year a measure that waives fees for visas on arrival issued to tourists from 18 countries, as it looks to stimulate growth in tourism to spur a slowing economy, the prime minister said on August 20.

The waivers are part of a US$10-billion stimulus package to boost growth, including a debt moratorium for farmers, loans for smaller businesses, and more money for low-income earners.

"The cabinet approved the extension of fee waivers until April 2020," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters, adding that the scheme would cover Lunar New Year and the Thai new year, Songkran.

Foreign tourist receipts make up about 12% of Southeast Asia's second largest economy, but arrivals increased just 0.89% in June, with visitors from China, the biggest source, declining 7.1% from a year earlier.

The fee of THB2,000 (US$65) is to be waived unil next year for travellers from 18 countries, including China and India.