Thailand Targets Tourism Boost with Longer Stays for Visitors, Students, and Digital Nomads

BANGKOK – In an effort to invigorate its pivotal tourism sector amid economic challenges, Thailand’s government announced on May 28 the approval of extended visa stay periods for tourists, post-graduate students, and remote workers, alongside improved visa conditions for retirees.

Starting in June, Thailand will increase the number of countries whose travelers are eligible for 60-day stays from 57 to 93, according to government spokesman Chai Wacharonke. Additionally, more visitors will qualify for visas on arrival.

Post-graduate foreign students will be allowed to remain in the country for an additional year after graduation. Moreover, insurance requirements for foreigners seeking retirement in Thailand will be eased.

Tourism plays a vital role in the economy of Southeast Asia’s second-largest nation, providing significant employment. The new measures aim to attract more visitors from key and rapidly growing markets by extending stay limits for on-arrival visas from 30 days to 60 days.

For self-employed and remote workers, the validity of “digital nomad” visas will be extended to five years, compared to the current 60 days, with each stay capped at 180 days. From January to May 26, 2024, Thailand recorded 14.3 million tourists. The country is targeting a record 40 million foreign arrivals for the full year, with projected revenue of 3.5 trillion baht (S$129 billion).

In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand welcomed a record 39.9 million visitors, generating 1.91 trillion baht. These initiatives reflect Thailand’s strategic move to enhance its tourism appeal, ensuring longer and more flexible stay options for various categories of visitors, thus driving economic growth.