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Thailand unveils new visa regulations to boost tourism and economy

Thailand has revised its visa policies to attract more tourists and boost its economy. Starting June, visitors from 93 countries can stay up to 60 days, and digital nomads can get a five-year visa.



Bangkok, Thailand – In a significant move to stimulate its tourism sector, the Thai government announced on Tuesday a series of enhancements to visa regulations, set to benefit tourists, remote workers, postgraduate students, and retirees. The new policies, effective from June, aim to attract more visitors as the country seeks economic recovery.

Starting next month, Thailand will expand its visa-free entry program to include 93 countries, an increase from the current 57.

Travellers from these countries can now stay for up to 60 days, a doubling of the previous limit. The list of new eligible nations includes China, India, and several countries from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In addition, the government has broadened the scope for visas on arrival, increasing the number of eligible countries from 19 to 31. This expansion is part of Thailand’s strategy to simplify entry processes and attract more tourists.

Chai Wacharonke, a government spokesperson, detailed that foreign students will now enjoy the possibility to remain in the country for a year following graduation, a substantial extension aimed at retaining international talent. Previously, students were required to leave shortly after completing their studies.

Retirees have also received a nod of approval with the easing of insurance requirements. Starting in September, long-stay visa applicants aged 50 and above will need health insurance coverage of just 440,000 baht (around US$12,000), significantly reduced from the prior requirement of 3 million baht.

Perhaps the most groundbreaking of the new policies is the introduction of a five-year visa for so-called “digital nomads” – self-employed, remote workers who can now stay for up to 180 days at a time, with the possibility of extension. This new visa targets freelancers and professionals in diverse fields, including technology, creative industries, and culinary arts.

Tourism, a crucial component of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, has been severely impacted by global events in recent years.

In 2019, Thailand set a record with 39.9 million tourist arrivals, but numbers plummeted due to the pandemic. With these relaxed visa regulations, the Thai government is optimistic about reviving its tourism sector. It aims to attract 40 million visitors by the end of the year, projecting earnings of 3.5 trillion baht ($95.73 billion).

In preparation for these changes, the number of Thai consulates and embassies offering e-visa services will also double by September, enhancing accessibility and convenience for potential visitors worldwide.

These sweeping changes, which come into effect on June 1, underscore Thailand’s commitment to reinstating its status as a top global tourist destination, while providing substantial economic benefits and job opportunities for its citizens.

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