Thailand to discontinue tourist-friendly initiatives

THAILAND will not extend two of the seven tourism stimulus policies it launched in the last two years in a bid to restore travellers’ confidence during the country’s political crisis (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 9).

The two initiatives to be discontinued are the exemption of tourist visa fees for certain nationalities, including from China and India, and the government-backed tourist insurance scheme in case of riots. Both tourist-specific policies will cease on March 31.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MoTS) permanent secretary, Sombat Kuruphan, said that keeping the insurance scheme might send the wrong message to tourists about the country’s political situation.

To make up for the removal of the tourist visa fee waiver, Thai authorities have promised speedier immigration procedures at Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is usually crowded during peak air traffic hours.

In January, there were 1.18 million tourist arrivals at the airport, a 6.2 per cent increase over the same month last year. There was also a total of 4.29 million domestic and international passengers passing through the airport, or a 4.91 per cent increase.

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