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Srettha said he would make a trip to India this year with plans to meet his counterpart Narendra Modi and discuss increasing flight frequency between the two countries, including more services by flag carrier Thai Airways International Pcl.
“There aren’t that many incoming flights from India yet due to internal politics,” Srettha said in an interview during a media forum on Monday. “I hope to visit before the end of the year to negotiate on the issue.”
Thailand may also mull other measures to boost Indian tourist arrivals, such as offering tax exemptions on jewelry imported for Indian weddings held in Thailand, a popular destination for such ceremonies, he said. As Indian tourists already can easily obtain Thai visas, a visa waiver may not be necessary, he said.
Srettha’s comment came a week after his cabinet approved temporary visa exemptions for Chinese and Kazakh tourists ahead of the high season. Tourists from the two countries can enter Thailand without a visa between Sept. 25 and Feb. 29, and can stay for a maximum of 30 days at a time.
Thailand mulls easing visa rules to lure Indian, Chinese tourists
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The visa waiver program is expected to bring in 35 billion baht ($980 million) from Chinese tourists, Srettha said during the forum.
Thailand has been ramping up measures to boost the travel industry, a key growth driver of the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia. It aims to raise tourism revenue to its pre-covid levels, with a target of 3.1 trillion baht ($87 billion) in 2024.
Thailand has welcomed 18.5 million foreign tourists so far this