Thailand to allow Russians to stay up to 90 days without visas: In a strategic move to bolster its tourism industry during the peak travel season, Thailand has announced a significant relaxation of visa regulations for Russian citizens. Starting in November and lasting until the end of April 2024, Russian visitors will enjoy an extended stay of up to 90 days in the country, a notable increase from the previous 30-day limit.
This decision comes as Thailand seeks to tap into the vast potential of the Russian market, which has shown promising tourism figures in recent years. In the year leading up to August, 923,113 Russians visited Thailand, making them the fifth-largest group of foreign tourists, following visitors from Malaysia, China, South Korea, and India, according to data from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
Prior to the global pandemic in 2019, Thailand welcomed approximately 1.5 million Russian tourists who contributed a substantial $3.3 billion to the country’s economy. This made Russians the third-largest spenders in the Thai tourism sector, demonstrating their strong economic impact.
590,000 Chinese tourists had confirmed flight
For Thailand, tourism has long been a critical driver of economic growth. The government’s decision to grant extended stays to Russian visitors reflects the nation’s hope for a resurgence in the tourism sector, especially after the recent unfortunate incident in a Bangkok shopping mall that may have impacted Chinese tourist arrivals. Chinese travelers are another significant source of revenue for Thailand, as they can enter the country without a visa requirement.
Despite the setback caused by the incident, approximately 590,000 Chinese tourists had confirmed flight and hotel bookings to Thailand as of October 14, although this number has slightly decreased from the 650,000 bookings registered prior to the incident. Nonetheless, Thailand remains optimistic about its tourism prospects, with forecasts projecting up to 30 million tourists visiting the country in the current year, more than doubling the total from 2022.
The Thai government’s decision to extend the visa-free period for Russian tourists is expected to not only attract more visitors from Russia but also stimulate tourism’s significant contribution to the country’s economic recovery. With an extended welcome to Russian tourists, Thailand is positioning itself to recapture its status as a top destination for travelers worldwide.