Thailand extends visa-on-arrival fee waiver till October 31

Tourist arrivals from Visakhapatnam region are expected to zoom

April 30, 2019 12:41 am | Updated 07:08 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Tourist arrivals to Thailand from Visakhapatnam region is expected to zoom further with the Royal Thai Government deciding to extend the waiver of visa-on-arrival fee of THB 2,000 (₹4,380) up to October 31.

Thai AirAsia, which launched a low-cost direct service from Visakhapatnam to Bangkok from December 8, 2018, has launched a special campaign to increase tourist arrivals from Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam areas.

The visa-on-arrival fee exemption is applicable to India and 20 other countries. The last date, which was scheduled to end on April 30, was initially offered for travel from November 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

After the waiver, on an average the foreign tourist arrival per month is hovering around 3.8 million after the authorities found that there was a dip in tourists from China, India, America, Sri Lanka and other countries.

Tours and Travels Association of Andhra secretary Srinivas Padhi told The Hindu that they were expecting a big jump in number of leisure tourists to Thailand.

He said that martial arts, beach resorts, rainforests, water sports, Buddhist temples and wildlife sanctuaries besides low-budget airfare, star hotel accommodation and wide choice of Indian and multi-cuisine food were irresistible to miss an offer to travel to Bangkok, Phuket and other tourist spots in Thailand.

Serial blasts

He said the recent serial blasts in Sri Lanka would also lead to shift in choice for travel to Thailand than the island nation by many repeat travellers who generally prefer to go to Colombo for trying their luck at casinos and spend free time at a secluded beachside resort.

Thai AirAsia’s Airbus-320 has a seating capacity of 180. The travel time from the city to Bangkok is around three hours.

Thai AirAsia operates flights four days a week. Nok Air, another low-cost carrier, is awaiting permission to operate its service from Visakhapatnam to Bangkok.

AirAsia sources said they have occupancy of 150 to 160 seats and now they were paying thrust to enhance the occupancy in their return flights.

Exuding confidence that the extension of visa on-arrival for such a long time would evoke an overwhelming response, the sources indicated the demand would go up steeply once examination season and elections were over.

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