Thailand’s Visa-Free Stay for Russian Tourists Extended to 90 Days

Starting from November 1, 2023, to April 30, 2024, Thailand has decided to grant Russian tourists a 90-day visa-free stay, an extension from the previous 30-day limit.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, last week, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin revealed that Thailand has already welcomed nearly one million Russian tourists this year, VisaGuide.World reports.

During the first meeting with President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Thavisin said that both leaders were impressed by these numbers and admired their countries’ long-standing close relationship.

“On October 16, I asked the Russian side to promote trade in agricultural products between them. Ready to invite Russia to consider increasing investment in Thailand. And invited Mr. Putin to visit Thailand in order to strengthen our relationship,” Prime Minister Thavisin wrote on X.

According to him, extending the visa-free period for Russian tourists will positively impact tourism. He also noted that many Russian tourists choose to stay in Thailand for over a month, mainly because their winter season lasts from December to March, VOA explains.

In addition, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports revealed that Russian tourists ranked fifth among international visitors to Thailand between January 1 and October 1, 2023, totaling 994,431 people. Last year, Thailand became a refuge for Russian visitors seeking to avoid military drafts in Moscow for the conflict in Ukraine.

Among other nationalities visiting Thailand, Malaysia leads the list with 3,280,622 visitors, followed by China with 2,509,698, South Korea with 1,197,763, and India with 1,165,935. In total, Thailand has hosted 20,051,535 international tourists in the first nine months of this year.

Gary Bowerman, a tourism analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, pointed out that earlier this year, many Russian tourists visiting Thailand also chose to spend time in competing destinations such as Bali and Vietnam. Thailand aims to encourage Russian tourists to explore more of its offerings by extending their welcome, ultimately leading to longer stays and increased spending within the country.

Previously, Thailand launched a program to boost its tourism sector. Thus, the latter decided to waive visa requirements for Chinese and Kazakh travelers from September 25, 2023, to February 29, 2024. This move aims to attract 30 percent more travelers and increase revenue for Thailand.

Based on the VisaGuide Passport Index, as of October 2023, the Thai passport is ranked 109th in the world. Thai citizens have visa-free access to 45 countries, but for the remaining countries, they are required to apply for a visa in advance to enter.

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