Thailand, China to waive visas for each other’s citizens from March

BANGKOK: Thailand and China will permanently waive visa requirements for each other’s citizens from March, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Tuesday (Jan 2).

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which relies heavily on tourism, in September waived entry requirements for Chinese tourists until February this year.

“This will upgrade the relationship between the two countries,” Srettha told reporters.

China’s foreign ministry said both countries were enhancing people-to-people exchanges by mutually exempting the visa requirements.

“Competent authorities of both sides are communicating closely on the matter and we are looking forward to the implementation of the relevant arrangement,” ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing.

In 2023, Thailand welcomed 28 million foreign tourists, slightly above its target, generating 1.2 trillion baht (US$34.93 billion) of revenue, government data showed.

Of that, the top source market was Malaysia with 4.5 million visitors, followed by 3.5 million arrivals from China.

That compared with a pre-COVID record of 39 million arrivals with 11 million from China.

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