Thailand and China are set to establish a permanent visa waiver for each other’s citizens starting in March, as announced by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Tuesday (Jan 2).
As the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, heavily reliant on tourism, Thailand had previously lifted entry requirements for Chinese tourists until February of the current year. Prime Minister Srettha highlighted that this move will strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that both countries are intensifying people-to-people exchanges through the reciprocal exemption of visa requirements. Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin conveyed during a regular briefing that authorities from both sides are in close communication, eagerly anticipating the implementation of the agreed-upon arrangement.
In 2023, Thailand surpassed its target by welcoming 28 million foreign tourists, generating a revenue of 1.2 trillion baht (US$34.93 billion), according to government data. Malaysia was the primary source market with 4.5 million visitors, followed by 3.5 million arrivals from China. This performance, although slightly below the pre-COVID record of 39 million arrivals with 11 million from China, underscores the significance of international tourism for Thailand’s economy.