Looks like we might once more be seeing free tourist visas to Thailand. The Tourism and Sports Minister, Chumpol Silapa-archa, is considering asking the Thai government to implement yet another free tourist visa scheme in an effort to persuade tourists to return to Thailand once all Bangkok and Thailand’s floods dissipate.
Tourist numbers have dropped considerably since flooding began in Thailand a couple of months ago, but have really plummeted since floods hit Bangkok.
In the past, free tourist visas have been given out for travel to Thailand several times over the last few years in an attempt to persuade tourists to return to the kingdom after various disasters.
Tourist visas were free after the tsunami hit Thailand, free again after yellow shirts shut down most of the country’s airports, and free after red shirt protests last year and subsequent government shootings and killings of more than 90 people.
As a long-term resident of Thailand, it has actually been surprising to me Thailand charges for tourist visas at all.
Particularly as in many countries around the region, including Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, tourists get a free 90-day stamp at the airport, without any of the hassle of having to apply for a tourist visas before traveling.
In this day and age, it is a little silly Thailand doesn’t do this too.
But, once Bangkok’s flooding is at an end, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand is trying to woo back tourists the disaster made Thailand lose, expect to see tourist visas free once more. In fact, if the past is anything to go by, plan on it.