The Thai Government is currently considering whether to extend the 45-Day Visa Exemption stamp, which is set to expire on March 31, 2023. The exemption was first introduced in October 2022 to give the country’s tourism industry a much-needed boost. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the purpose of the 45-day visa exemption, its history, the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) proposal for its extension, and its impact on the tourism sector.
Purpose of the 45-Day Visa Exemption
The 45-Day Visa Exemption was designed to encourage more tourists to visit Thailand and stay longer, hoping that they would spend more money during their visit. By offering a longer stay without the need for a visa, the Thai Government hoped to attract more long-term travellers who would contribute to the local economy and help the tourism industry recover from the setbacks caused by the pandemic.
History of the 45-Day Stamp
The 45-day visa exemption was first introduced briefly in 2021, but it only lasted a few months. The policy was implemented alongside mandatory two-week quarantines or Sandbox monitoring schemes for tourists arriving in the country after the peak of the Covid pandemic. When these practices were discontinued, the 45-day entry stamps were replaced with the original 30-day period.
In October 2022, the 45-day visa waiver stamp made a comeback as the Thai Government sought new ways to stimulate the tourism industry. The hope was that visitors would choose to stay longer in Thailand and, in turn, spend more money, thus helping the country’s economy.
Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Proposal
The TAT has recently suggested that the government extend the 45-day visa exemption measure until the end of 2023. The proposal includes extending Visa on Arrival stays from the current 15 days to 30 days for eligible passport holders from 19 countries. Additionally, the TAT has recommended that Visa Exemption stays be increased from 30 to 45 days for eligible passport holders from 64 countries that have bilateral agreements with Thailand.
Impact on Tourism and Future Plans
In 2022, Thailand welcomed a total of 11.5 million tourists, surpassing its target of 10 million visitors for the year. The TAT attributes this success mainly to the extended visa on arrival and visa exemption policies. They estimated that tourists would stay an additional five days on average due to the extended stays, resulting in an extra 20,000 baht per tourist being spent in the Thai economy.
Extended stays have played a vital role in generating tourism revenue, helping Thailand’s tourism industry become one of the fastest to recover in post-pandemic Southeast Asia. However, there’s still a long way to go before the industry can fully bounce back.
To reach their ambitious target of 25 million foreign arrivals in 2023, the TAT has proposed extending the visa on arrival and visa exemption policies. The goal is to continue attracting more tourists and encouraging them to stay longer in Thailand, contributing to the country’s economic recovery.
Awaiting Decision on the 45-Day Entry Stamp
As the current regulation is slated to end on March 31, 2023, the Thai Government is expected to make a decision on the 45-Day Entry Stamp extension in the coming weeks. While there is no guarantee that the proposal will be approved, it could result in the policy reverting to a 30-day entry from April 1 if it is not extended.
Travelers can also apply for a 60-day tourist visa before their trip. However, this option is more expensive and requires submitting various documents due to the shift to e-visa application systems at most embassies. Those who opt for either a 60-day tourist visa or the 45-day entry stamp can also extend their stay for an additional 30 days at a local immigration office in Thailand for a 1,900 Baht fee.
The Thai Government is considering extending the 45-Day Visa Exemption stamp, which is set to expire on March 31, 2023. The exemption was introduced to boost tourism and encourage longer stays by visitors. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has proposed extending the policy until the end of 2023 to continue attracting tourists and meet their target of 25 million foreign arrivals. A decision on the extension is expected in the coming weeks. In case the policy is not extended, travelers can explore alternative options such as applying for a 60-day tourist visa before their trip.