16 January 2009
Thai govt considering temporary visa fee waiver
The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Thai Government would consider dropping visa fees for three months in an attempt to boost tourism to the country, reports The Straits Times.
The PM said travellers to Thailand would benefit from reduced aircraft landing fees as well as the visa waiver initiative, so that the negative effects of the November 2008 Bangkok airport sieges could be counterbalanced. The anti-government siege in November caused trouble for 350,000 travellers who were left stranded in Bangkok with no way home.
"The plan to revive the tourism sector will be tabled at the cabinet meeting next Tuesday and will include a three month waiver for visa fees and discounting landing fees," he told a seminar.
"I hope these measures will help the tourism sector one way or another."
According to the newspaper, the Bank of Thailand predicts that tourism levels will drop dramatically in 2009 from last year's impressive 12.8 million visitors. As a result, the Government has also committed a stimulus package to boost tourism in the kingdom, amounting to 115-billion Baht (over £2 billion).
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Thai visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.