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Thai Chamber of Commerce seeks visa amnesty for tourists

Thai Chamber of Commerce seeks visa amnesty for tourists

BANGKOK: The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) has urged the government to extend the visa amnesty for 400,000 tourists here, while operators in Chiang Mai said more than 10,000 international tourists are helping to generate revenue in the province while borders remain closed.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 26 September 2020, 09:05AM

The Thai Chamber of Commerce has urged the government to extend the visa amnesty for 400,000 tourists in the country. Photo: Bangkok Post

The Thai Chamber of Commerce has urged the government to extend the visa amnesty for 400,000 tourists in the country. Photo: Bangkok Post

TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin said the chamber has repeatedly demanded that the Immigration Bureau consider automatically extending the deadline for foreigners in Thailand for 90 days after the amnesty expires today, but the proposal was neglected, Bangkok Post reports.

"The TCC has raised this issue on three occasions, including at a meeting with the prime minister and the Interior Ministry recently," Mr Kalin said. "We were told that this agenda was in the process, but there’s been no progress so far as the deadline approaches."

He said the deadline will bring chaos to those residing in Thailand now, as commercial flights are not fully allowed in the country.

Instead of blacklisting those foreigners, the government should accommodate them with a more flexible period, particularly when the country cannot reopen for inbound tourists, Mr Kalin said.

He contrasted the reaction from the government regarding the visa amnesty with the effort to promote Thai tourism to foreigners temporarily living here as a means to generate domestic revenue.

"The uncompromising stance towards visa extension scares tourists away despite the fact that they help drive the local economy in these tough times," Mr Kalin said.

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Anantorn Hochindarat, president of the Tourism Association of Chiang Mai, said local operators have received revenue from international tourists who remained in Thailand during the past six months.

Some 70% were from China, while others were from Japan and Europe.

Mr Anantorn said some were forced to stay because of technical problems, while others stayed voluntarily because of their confidence in Thailand’s health and safety standards.

The revenue from this group benefits hotels, rented homes and condominiums, as the tourists need long-term accommodation.

"Our inbound revenue was zero from March, but some of us can manage to have recurring revenue from those foreigners," Mr Anantorn said. "Although not as much as normal tourists, it can help us a lot when facing difficult times."

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Kurt | 29 September 2020 - 13:27:15

... Sometimes at Immigration when my number is 'next', agents come in with a lot of passports/papers and without taking a number override me and sit straight with the Immigration officer.
Agents are at least Vip's in immigration bureau.

Kurt | 29 September 2020 - 13:22:46

@ Pascale. The 'fast Immigration check inn lane' at Thai Airports was a faceless multi million thb scam.
Do I understand there is a 'agents-Immigration happening'  when it comes to visa stuff? If so, we can't blame just the 'agents'. They just make use of the facilities the Immigration provide them. ( if it is true)
Sometimes at Immigration when my number is 'next...

Pascale | 29 September 2020 - 07:59:24

You are right Svcoquette ! It sounds not right. Getting a retirement visa without proof of 800.000 baht on a Thai account or without proof of a sufficient pension can't be legal. Those kind of agents are the reason for many dodgy people here.

Svcoquette | 28 September 2020 - 17:54:52

Lalala, we don't support the type of underhanded deals you're proposing. Even IF (that's a big IF) it is all legal it's a short step from corruption.

LALALA | 28 September 2020 - 10:00:50 you Agent will fix all this for a fee....but hey, if you like to run to IO every month, pay 1900thb and waiting in the que...up to you.

Timothy | 28 September 2020 - 08:29:44

Foot what Lala suggested was impossible. You should know that you need to have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account for at least 6+ months before you qualify for a retirement visa. And you need a visa from a Thai embassy abroad as well.  How is your great advice supposed to help this guy who is stuck here on his boat? 

LALALA | 27 September 2020 - 17:57:01

And yes Kurt... I know many people who successfully did it.

LALALA | 27 September 2020 - 17:49:10

Kurt, you are wrong, you can get a Non immigrant O in Thailand. Agent does first a non immi O which is valid 3 month and than 12 month retirement, hence you pay 45K for 15 month.

Kurt | 27 September 2020 - 12:11:16

Point is:  Thai Immigration not provide Visa,  only hand out extensions.

Kurt | 27 September 2020 - 12:06:51

@Foot. One can not require for a Retirement extension with a tourist visa. One needs a A/O/B- or whatever visa first. Such a visa one only gets abroad at thai embassies. But the 'roads' to abroad are closed. See there the dilemma.

Svcoquette | 27 September 2020 - 11:03:17

@Foot, not interested in bending the rules or their intentions. Not interested in retiring in Thailand.Once we are able to leave on our yacht we and the other yachts here will never return. We've always left "a clean wake" from all the countries we've visited. It's a saying most cruisers abide by. You don't want the millions we spend here each year fine, we'll spend i...

Foot | 26 September 2020 - 20:57:42

A few weeks ago, LALA told you how to resolve your problem once an for all.  Why didn't you do as suggested?

Svcoquette | 26 September 2020 - 16:22:36

Extend all tourist VISA s for 12 months from date of first entry. Solves many problems and allows us to plan trips within Thailand.

Foot | 26 September 2020 - 14:39:28

Or, here's a thought, why not get a 12 month retirement extension and solve the problem?

Sandbar | 26 September 2020 - 13:25:38

I see so many Thai people with forlorne faces. Struggling to make money and put food on the table for their familes. Always linning up for food packages. The PM and his cabinet has lost touch with the common people. He should worry more about the people and thier future than harrasing foreigners!

CaptainJack69 | 26 September 2020 - 12:47:09

The only logic for immigration policy and visa 'extensions' is to prevent foreigners working illegally. What illegal jobs do these people imagine foreigners are doing now? With the economy in tatters and tourism flat out gone? Whose jobs are these dastardly foreigners taking? On the contrary, they are paying into, but are now being driven out of, the country.

Little Tommy Tucker | 26 September 2020 - 10:20:04

I regularly visit a small 'western orientated' restaurant in Chalong. It typically has 4/5 customers a day, virtually all westerner. Nowhere near enough money coming in to cover costs. I have noticed, over the last few weeks, those bleak numbers dropping. Yesterday, at 5 pm, I was the only customer all day. In essense, Thai authorities couldn't give a Monkey's arse about struggling...

Kurt | 26 September 2020 - 09:49:29

Well, it seems there is at least 1 Thai Office were the lights are on, and the brains are working. ...'Proposal neglected, Agenda was in process, but so far no progress'....    Poor Thai people who would welcome the stay of any present foreigners, spending money, helping Thai people to survive.

Svcoquette | 26 September 2020 - 09:32:49

Extend all VISA s until at least 31 Dec as Malaysia has done. Stop hassling us and the people working at the immigration offices who are trying to keep their cool. 


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