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Thailand eases visa applications to woo tourists

Updated: 2023-08-11 10:52 ( Xinhua )
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A tourist feeds elephants at a sanctuary in Phuket, Thailand, in April, 2023. Some sanctuaries in Phuket offer intimate, safe interactions with elephants. [Photo by Yang Wanli/China Daily]

Thailand is easing its visa application process by reducing approval time and required documents in a bid to attract more foreign tourists, a government official said Thursday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has streamlined the application for a tourist visa, decreasing the number of supporting documents and processing time to seven working days from 14, said deputy government spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek.

Inbound foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country increased as expected, even during the off-season, as the Thai government attaches importance to the facilitation of tourists and promotional activities, Ratchada said in a statement.

Last week, 95,581 tourists arrived from China, followed by those from Malaysia, South Korea, India and Vietnam, the statement said.

Thailand welcomed 15.89 million tourist arrivals from January to early August, earning over 663 billion baht (about $18.92 billion) in revenue from foreign visitors, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

The kingdom is on course to meet the whole-year foreign tourist target of 25 million, according to the ministry, compared with 11.15 million in 2022.

In pre-pandemic 2019, Chinese tourists accounted for about 28 percent of the nearly 40 million foreign tourists to Thailand. Tourism, the key driver of Thailand's economic growth, accounts for about 12 percent of the country's GDP.

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