Tourists from India and Taiwan will be able to enter Thailand without a visa between Nov 10 and May 10 this year, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, in a bid to draw in more tourists as high season approaches.
Thailand in September scrapped visa requirements for Chinese tourists, the country's top pre-coronavirus-pandemic tourism market with 11 million of the record 39 million arrivals in 2019.
From January to Oct 29, there were 22 million visitors to Thailand, generating 927.5 billion baht (US$25.67 billion), according to the latest government data.
"Arrivals from India and Taiwan can enter Thailand for 30 days," government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said.
India has been Thailand's fourth largest source market for tourism so far this year with about 1.2 million arrivals after Malaysia, China and South Korea.
Inbound tourism from India showed signs of growth as more airlines and hospitality chains targeted that market.
Thailand is targeting about 28 million arrivals this year, with the new government hoping the travel sector can offset continued weak exports that have constrained economic growth.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) had hoped travellers from Taiwan and India will be next in line for visa waivers if visa-free entry for mainland Chinese tourists is made permanent, as proposed by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin.
Mr Srettha said that the temporary visa exemption for Chinese travellers, which is scheduled to end on Feb 29, could be made permanent.
He made the comment during the signing of a letter of intent between the TAT and eight Chinese companies on Oct 19 in Beijing, where he led a Thai delegation attending the Belt and Road Forum.
Travellers from Malaysia has topped the list of tourists this year at more than 3 million, followed by Chinese — the largest group of visitors to Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic — at 2.65 million as of Oct 15, according to the latest figures from the TAT.
Thailand expects the number of Chinese tourists to reach 4 million to 4.4 million in 2023, the tourism agency said earlier this month.