Khon Kaen expects boost from longer-stay visas
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Khon Kaen expects boost from longer-stay visas

Travelers at Khon Kaen airport (Photo: Chakkarapan Natanri)
Travelers at Khon Kaen airport (Photo: Chakkarapan Natanri)

The private sector in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen is confident that the visa extension measure of 60 days, effective this month, will help spur tourism and the economy.

Khemchat Somjaiwong, honorary chairman of the Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce, said on Monday that the move approved by the cabinet last week had earned positive feedback from local businesses.

This measure, which followed the government's effort to stimulate the overall economy, particularly the tourism and hospitality sectors, will extend visa durations from 30 to 60 days for natives of 93 countries, an increase from the previous 57 countries.

Mr Khemchat said the number of travellers eligible for visas on arrival has also been expanded, and the visa extension has also been applied to this group.

Digital nomads, who can work remotely anywhere in the country, have also had their visa duration extended from 60 days to five years, with each entry allowing a stay of up to 180 days.

Foreign students will also benefit from the new measures, as they are now permitted to stay in Thailand for an additional year after graduation. The government's efforts are to enhance the overall economy, particularly in terms of daily expenditure per person.

According to Mr Khemchat, Khon Kaen has seen an influx of foreign visitors for holidays, conferences, medical services and education.

In this regard, the Bank of Thailand and the Bank of the Lao PDR have agreed to allow cross-border payment through Thai and Lao commercial banks, expecting to maintain liquidity and flexibility for travellers.

Mr Khemchat said extending the stay of foreign visitors is expected to increase the spending in the province, benefiting local communities and businesses.

The private sector in Khon Kaen is coordinating with the Thai Chamber of Commerce and other agencies to encourage Thai and international airlines to consider opening international flights linking short-distance routes, World Heritage cities or the East-West Economic Corridor.

Khon Kaen International Airport is now ready to facilitate international routes and accommodate the growing number of tourists, he said.

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