Thailand and Kazakhstan agree on visa waiver deal to boost tourism | trip

Thailand will sign a permanent bilateral visa waiver agreement with Kazakhstan next week as the Southeast Asian country aims to return foreign tourist arrivals to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Thailand and Kazakhstan agree on a visa waiver deal to boost tourism (Photo by Amaury PAUL / AFP)

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s office on Thursday approved the visa waiver, which will be signed during Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu’s visit to Bangkok on April 23, Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke told reporters on Thursday.

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Under the policy, travelers from Kazakhstan can stay in Thailand for a maximum of 30 days at a time and a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa, Chai said. Thai travelers to Kazakhstan will have to adhere to the same rules, he said.

The program will take effect 30 days after confirmation that internal procedures in the respective countries have been completed to enforce the agreement, Chai said.

Thailand has benefited from an increase in tourists from Kazakhstan since the country introduced a temporary visa waiver program that started in September and was extended until August, according to Chai.

Thailand has seen a more than 40% increase in the number of foreign tourists this year to around 11 million, as visa waiver programs and simpler travel rules attract travelers from around the world. Chinese tourists topped the list with about 2 million visitors, followed by travelers from Malaysia, Russia, South Korea and India, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports said.

Thailand’s vital tourism sector accounts for 12% of the country’s gross domestic product. This year, the country aims to welcome 35 to 40 million foreign tourists, close to the pre-pandemic record of 40 million visitors in 2019.

The government aims to generate 1.8 trillion baht ($49 billion) in revenue from foreign tourists this year. Revenues totaled 518 billion baht between January 1 and April 14, official preliminary data showed this week.

This story was published via wire agency without modifications to the text. Only the headline has changed.

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