Nathporn Chatusripitak, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said that upon cabinet approval the exemption from the B2,000 fee will be extended until Oct 31.
The fee waiver, designed to give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry, is scheduled to expire on April 30.
Although the exemption is estimated to cost B2.95 billion in lost revenue to the government, it is expected to draw more foreign visitors and generate B104.61 billion in tourism income during the 184 days of the waiver.
The Immigration Bureau reported that the visa fee exemption helped lure visitors in the past three months.
The government waived the visa-on-arrival fee for visitors from 21 countries to help the tourism industry from Nov 15, 2018 to Jan 14, 2019. The measure was then extended to April 30.
According to Immigration Bureau statistics, the number of foreign visitors was 3.58 million from Nov 15 to March 31, up 83% from 1.67 million in the year-earlier period.
“Normally the period between May and October is a low season for tourism,” Mr Nathporn said. “The measure is thus considered successful, as it could attract more foreign visitors and generate more income.”
In a related development, departments under the Commerce Ministry on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on a trade and tourism alliance with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The objective is to develop target goods, including organic and innovative agricultural products, to link with tourism destinations to stimulate local economies and foreign tourist spending.
The coordination will include marketing promotion, public relations, data integration and providing knowledge to local entrepreneurs to develop products in line with their own communities and tourism destinations.
The partnership is one of the government’s ongoing efforts to stimulate domestic consumption and draw more foreign tourists to offset lower export prospects.
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