Bangkok Post – Thailand and Australia to consider mutual visa waivers

Visiting Australian governor-general holds wide-ranging talks with PM Srettha

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and David Hurley, the Governor-General of Australia, review an honour guard at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and David Hurley, the Governor-General of Australia, review an honour guard at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Thailand and Australia have agreed to consider the possibility of introducing a mutual visa exemption scheme to facilitate travel and business activity between the people of both nations.

The proposal was raised during a meeting between Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and David Hurley, the Governor-General of Australia, at Government House on Wednesday.

Mr Hurley and his spouse Linda are visiting Thailand until Saturday to celebrate the longstanding relationship between Thailand and Australia.

He and Mr Srettha on Wednesday inspected guards of honour and exchanged souvenirs as a symbol of goodwill before proceeding with their talks.

“The Thai government is committed to implementing measures to promote tourism including enhancing safety for tourists and facilitating their travel,” Mr Srettha said.

He also urged Australian tourists to consider health-oriented travel in Thailand, as both sides expressed satisfaction with the current level of tourism activity between the two nations.

The prime minister also proposed enhancing cooperation to strengthen the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Tafta), which would help increase trade volume and value. He also urged Australian investors to explore opportunities in the green energy and smart technology sectors.

Mr Hurley said the upcoming Asean-Australia Special Summit early next month would give Thailand an opportunity to promote investments and highlight the government’s southern Land Bridge megaproject.

Both sides also expressed satisfaction with military cooperation which has included joint exercises and staff training. Mr Srettha said closer cooperation would bolster defence preparedness of the two countries in addressing security challenges.

Mr Hurley, 70, had a distinguished 42-year career in the Australian military and was named Chief of Defence Force in 2011. He later served as governor of New South Wales from 2014 to 2018, when he was named governor-general.

The governor-general occupies a ceremonial role as the representative of the monarch of Australia, currently King Charles III. He is selected by the prime minister, but formally appointed by the monarch on the prime minister’s advice.

Mr Hurley and his spouse are scheduled to have a royal audience with Their Majesties the King and Queen during the visit.

They will also have an audience with the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and visit the Doi Tung Development Project and the Mekong-Australia Partnership climate resilience project site in Chiang Rai.

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