Free Visa on Arrival for 21 Countries in Thailand from Dec `18 to Jan `19

By Seema Nande on Dec 07, 2018
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As if we needed more reasons to visit the land of moon parties and exotic islands, Thailand has lured us once again. This time by waiving off visa on arrival fees with the objective of leveraging New Year tourism. A favorite of several Indians to bring the new year in or just make merry during the last few days of the year, Thailand scores big as one of the chosen cheap new year destinations outside India.

This decision was regulated after the Thai Government calculated a massive 28 per cent decline from 21 countries, including China that contributes the most to this decline. A period of the past four months was taken into study that brought to light the downswing. Two main reasons that account to this are - the country’s implicit trade war with the America and a boat mishap in Phuket that cost China its 40 tourists. The Chinese tourists’ loss of lives reckons a big percentage, 28 per cent approximately, of a total of 35 million visitors that visited Thailand in 2017.

Given that 20 percent of Thailand’s GDP is derived from tourism this move is expected to bring about a 30 percent increase in tourists from the said 21 countries. Apart from India and China, Maldives, Lithuania, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Andora, San Marino, Romania, Ukraine, Cyprus, Bhutan, Fiji, Ethiopia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan too will avail this fee exemption. 

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Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Thailand Government spokesperson, announced this decision after ministerial regulation. What Indian passport holders, especially, can look forward to is saving a sum of INR 4,349 per person (2,000 baht) as the Thailand Visa on Arrival fees in December 2018 and January 2019.

All other rules and regulations of the visit, including the 15-day stay, remain the same. Mostly preferred for a 5-7 day stay across the country, Thailand leaves you spoilt for choice with its blend of urban cities and exotic islands. Some of the best places to visit in Thailand may require you to plan ahead of time, due to an anticipated holiday rush. Local media reports are expecting arrivals of 40 million foreign tourists as against the targeted 38 million.

Hotels in popular cities like Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai are sold out during this period, if you are lucky to find one you may be paying a super steep tariff. Choose from these best hotels in Bangkok, best hotels in Pattaya, best hotels in Chiang Mai for one memorable new year’s holiday!

Whether you seek a rad new years’ holiday or something spiritual and sober, this news is indeed great news. With that being said, it’s time to get those tickets booked!

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