Lonely Planet Writer

Thailand's free visa programme has been extended for travellers from 21 countries

The good news for many travellers heading to Thailand is that it has extended its free visa programme to August for people from 21 countries. This will benefit those who are attracted to the country because of the beautiful beaches in resorts like Phuket and Krabi, as well as the vibrant nightlife in Bangkok.

Noppamethanedol and Noppapol Phumsiri pagodas at Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Noppamethanedol and Noppapol Phumsiri pagodas at Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Image by ©Kriangkraiwut Boonlom/500px

Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta,  Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan are the countries who will benefit from the scheme.

Bangkok, Thailand. Image: Paul Sarawak
Thailand has extended its free visa programme to travellers from 21 countries. Image: Paul Sarawak

The Thai cabinet has waived visa fees at its consulates and embassies for a further six months until August and the visa-on-arrival fee has been halved to 1000 baht. The original decision was to implement the measures for three months from early December to 28 February, which was found to raise the number of tourist arrivals by 12.4%.

Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Thailand has extended its free visa programme to travellers from 21 countries. Image by James Antrobus / CC BY 2.0

The extension is an attempt to offset the effect of the reduced number of Chinese tourists following the Thai government cracking down on low-budget tours from the world’s most-populous country in late September last year. It wants to focus on smaller groups of higher-spending visitors to bolster the tourism industry longer term.

Wat Arun at sunset in Bangkok, Thailand. Image: Jirawas Teekayu
Thailand has extended its free visa programme to travellers from 21 countries. Image: Jirawas Teekayu

This latest move comes months after Thailand’s decision to approve long-stay visas of ten years for senior tourists to promote medical and wellness tourism.

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