Thailand is relaxing its visa regime to attract more visitors


Thailand has long been a popular spot and stop for bon vivants, beach lovers and backpackers and is aiming to boost visitor numbers to pre-Covid levels with a revamped border system.

The new rules, which come into effect later this year, will see passport holders from 93 countries receive a 60-day stamp on arrival, up from 57 countries, and doubling the current 30-day allowance.

The Southeast Asian nation will also start offering a so-called “digital nomad” or “freelancer” visa for those who want to move there and do some work while seeing the sights.

The goal, the government said in a recent statement, is “attracting global talent.” Successful applicants may work remotely or long-distance during a 180-day stay on a five-year multiple permit.

Other recipients of the visa may include people involved in ‘cultural activities’ such as Muay Thai (kickboxing), cooking, music festivals and medical treatment – ​​the latter in line with the fact that Thailand has long been a hub for medical tourism.

The Thai government also said it would relax health insurance requirements for people with other long-term visas or permits.

Last year, officials announced that pubs, bars and nightclubs would have extended opening hours as part of government measures aimed at boosting tourism amid Asia’s slow recovery from Covid lockdowns and border closures.

About 28 million foreign visitors entered Thailand in 2023, a big improvement from 2022’s 11.5 million but far below 2019’s 39 million, a number that puts the country once known as Siam fifth globally is second only to the US and on a par with Italy.

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