The Thailand government plans to increase the visa-free stay of Russian tourists in the country from 30 to 90 days. This additional length of stay was made to increase tourism during the peak holiday season. This was said by newly elected Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Saturday, October 14 2023.
According to the Sputnik report, Thavisin said that Russia is a big market for Thai tourism is limited to 30 days. We will try to ensure that Russian tourists can stay in Thailand not for as long as 30, but for 90 days,” Thavisin said at a meeting with representatives of tourism administrations and businesses in southern Thailand’s Phang-Nga province.
Thailand will also try to ease visa rules for other countries with colder climates, for example for Kazakhstan.
Valid from November to April
The new residence permit regulations are said to come into effect in November. Russian visitors can enter Thailand without a visa and stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days until the end of April 2024, Tourism Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol told reporters in Bangkok.
According to data from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Russian tourists are one of the top five foreign tourists in the country. As of August, 923,113 Russians visited Thailand, ranking fifth after tourists from Malaysia, China, South Korea and India.
About 1.5 million Russians traveled to Thailand in pre-pandemic 2019. They spent about $3.3 billion (nearly IDR 52 trillion), making them the third biggest spenders, according to official data.
Thailand relies on foreign tourist visits to increase economic growth.
The recent shooting incident at a Bangkok shopping mall may have reduced the country’s appeal to Chinese visitors, who can also enter without applying for a visa first.
About 590,000 Chinese travelers still had confirmed flight and hotel bookings to Thailand as of Oct. 14, down from 650,000 registered before the shooting, according to government spokesman Chai Wacharonke.
Overall, Thailand is expected to receive up to 30 million foreign tourists this year. This figure is more than double the number of tourists in 2022.