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Thai government extends visa fee waiving to one year

Thai government extends visa fee waiving to one year ( Continuing its efforts to expedite the revival of the Thai travel and tourism industry, the Royal Thai Government has agreed to extend the exemption of the visa fee for tourist visa applications until March 4, 2010.

The exemption will apply to all applicants for visa on arrival at all international airports in Thailand, as well as those applying at Thai embassies and consulates abroad for stays longer than the period for which they are normally eligible.

Thailand presently gives a visa on arrival for citizens of 20 countries for a stay not exceeding 15 days. Citizens of another 42 countries are allowed a visa-free stay in Thailand not over 30 days.

Those who wish to stay longer than those periods have to apply for visas at the Thai embassies or diplomatic missions abroad before their arrival in Thailand.

The extension is one of several measures taken by the Thai tourism industry to revive itself in the wake of a number of global and local events that have led to a temporary decline in visitor arrivals.

According to TAT chairman Mr. Weerasak Kowsurat: “As a result of the global economic downturn, the worldwide travel and tourism sector has declined as people have become more cautious about spending on leisure and business travel. Hence, the government has implemented many measures to enhance Thailand's competitive advantage and strengthen our country's unique qualities."

Other recent measures include a reduction of landing charges for aircraft and reduced entry fees for national parks. On June 1, the “Package Tour for Transfer Passengers" initiative was introduced. Transfer passengers making a stopover of 6 to 12 hours at Suvarnabhumi International Airport can take short tours of Bangkok and the surrounding area.

In order to tap the weekend break for short-haul countries, TAT has also introduced a 72-hour travel program guide book to several provinces including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Pattaya. The most recent program guide book in the series is 72 hours in Hua Hin.

In 2008, Thailand welcomed around 14.59 million international visitors, a growth of only 0.88 percent.

In January through April 2009, visitor arrivals to Thailand totalled 4.7 million, down 14.7 percent compared to the same period last year. While most markets showed varying rates of decline, arrivals from the Middle East grew by almost 11.5 percent and arrivals from south Asia were up 3.6 percent.

For more information, please contact: Visa Division, The Customs Department, Tel: 02-575-1063, Email: href=""> or Royal Thai Consulates and Embassies Abroad, Immigration Bureau, Tel: 02-287-3101-10, Email: href="">, Hotline: 1178.

International Public Relation Division Tourism Authority of Thailand Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 4545-48 Fax: +66 (0) 2253 7419 Email: Web site:

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