China cuts visa fees by 25% for Thai tourists

China cuts visa fees by 25% for Thai tourists

Thailand will continue to pursue talks with Beijing for visa exemptions

Tourists queue to enter the Forbidden City in Beijing. (Photo: Reuters)
Tourists queue to enter the Forbidden City in Beijing. (Photo: Reuters)

BEIJING - China on Friday cut visa fees by 25% for travellers from countries including Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines until the end of 2024, according to statements from the Chinese foreign ministry and embassies.

The policy so far covers hundreds of millions of travellers from over a dozen countries and will make it cheaper for them to get a visa to travel to China.

Effective from Dec 11, the new fee for a single-entry tourist visa for Thai nationals will range from 750 baht for ordinary service to 1,950 baht for rush service, according to the Chinese embassy website.

The visa discount is the latest of several measures China has taken recently to increase inbound travel by foreign tourists and businesspeople amid a sputtering recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. 

Thailand is asking China to grant visa exemptions for Thai tourists, given that the country recently granted visa exemptions to Chinese travellers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara revealed the plan on Thursday after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of a meeting of Mekong countries in Beijing.

Mr Wang expressed support for the visa exemption idea, the minister said.

“A working panel will travel to China to discuss the matter with Chinese authorities by the end of this month,” Mr Parnpree said.

Thailand in September introduced a tourist visa exemption scheme for Chinese and Kazakh passport holders to stay in the country for up to 30 days. The exemption will be in effect until Feb 29 next year.

Last month, China announced that holders of ordinary passports from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia could enter China visa-free for business, tourism and visiting relatives and friends until the end of 2024.

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