Multiple visa a trade boon, say operators
The Tourism and Sports Ministry and tourism operators have hailed the approval of multiple-entry visas effective for six months as a measure that will help to attract more tourists to the country.
Kobkarn: Measure to lure more visitors
The ministerial regulation under the Immigration Act of 1979, approved by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday, will allow tourists to get a visa enabling them to make multiple entries into Thailand during a six-month period.
The multiple-entry visa costs 5,000 baht, while a visa for a single entry is 1,000 baht.
Multiple entry will become available 60 days after the regulation is published in the Royal Gazette.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said the multiple visa was a new measure to boost tourism, as more tourists will visit the country.
Charoen Wangananont, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, agreed with Ms Kobkarn, saying it would benefit those who often visit Thailand.
"It's a good start, although even the six-month period may still be short for some visitors," he said.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry earlier proposed the cabinet approve the multiple visa for a 12-month period.
"We hope this multiple visa measure will promote Thailand as a destination for weekend vacations and that business people will visit Thailand more often," Ms Kobkarn said.
During the first seven months of this year, the number of international tourist arrivals increased by 30.7% to 17.5 million, with tourism revenue growing by 30% to 818 billion baht.
The 2015 tourist arrivals target is 29 million visitors for tourism revenue of 1.4 trillion baht, up from 24.8 million visitors and 1.13 trillion baht last year.
Areepong Bhoocha-oom, newly appointed tourism permanent secretary, said his ministry would propose a strategic tourism development plan to the National Tourism Policy Committee next Monday.
Under the plan, the country will focus on generating tourism revenue, particularly for local communities, and try to attract more quality tourists. The plan comprises three strategies — tourism product and service development, tourism management, and marketing.
"We want to upgrade the quality of life of people in tourism destinations nationwide and make them stronger for sustainable tourism development. Self-sufficiency is key to our goal," Mr Areepong said.