Thailand’s government has approved long-term tourist visas of up to 270 days on Tuesday as the government is currently preparing to reopen to borders for foreign visitors possibly next month to revive the tourism industry.
To remember, Thailand’s bigger part of its revenue generates from tourism only.
The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to allow in foreign tourists who agree to 14-day quarantine and stay for at least 90 days, to help the flagging economy.
Visitors can extend the 90-day visa two more times, which costs 2,000 baht (US $ 64.14), Deputy Government Spokesman Traisulee Traisoranakul said in a cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said after the cabinet meeting that the government would issue special tourist visas for long-stay visitors. The most important condition would be a 14-day quarantine.
“Visitors can arrive for tourism or health services, and they can stay at alternative state quarantine facilities, specific areas or at hospitals that function as quarantine facilities,” he said.
“Our public health system is amongst the best in the world and people can have confidence in it.”
The government plans to allow foreign visitors from countries with little or no risk to visit the country starting next month, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Official Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), told Reuters.
“I want this to happen quickly. I will try to do this in October or the fourth quarter at the latest,” he said.
Several hundred visitors who have agreed to a 14-day quarantine are admitted each month. “We want you to fly direct too, to reduce the risks.”
The plan is to start with provinces offering alternative state quarantine, Yuthasak said.
By sealing the country off to all but returning Thai nationals and admitted foreigners and obliging all comers to quarantine, Thailand has limited the number of coronavirus cases to just 3,480, the vast majority of which have recovered. The country has reported 58 deaths.
The state planning agency expects only 6.7 million foreign tourists this year after 39.8 million visitors in the previous year, whose spending accounted for 11.4% of GDP.