Thailand Extends Longer Visa-Free Stay for Russians Until July to Boost Tourism

(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s cabinet approved a plan to allow Russian tourists who enter the country without a visa to stay for a maximum of two months as the Southeast Asian country bets on tourism to support an economic recovery.

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Russian passport-holders who arrive in Thailand between May and July can stay up to 60 days per trip under the new measure, according to deputy government spokesperson Rudklao Suwankiri. The new rule will kick in after the current arrangement that allows Russians to stay up to 90 days lapses at the end of this month, she told a briefing after a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Tourism-reliant Thailand last year relaxed visa rules for travelers from some of its main markets including China and India. Russians are the third-largest group of visitors to Thailand so far this year, after Chinese and Malaysians.

“This is a special case and it’s temporary,” Rudklao said referring to the cabinet nod for Russians. “The extension will help attract more Russian tourists during those three months, generating more tourism income and boost the economy.”

Tourism is one of Thailand’s key industries accounting for about 20% of total jobs and making up about 12% of the nation’s $500 billion economy. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s administration has set a goal of attracting 80 million tourists by 2027.

Russian tourist arrivals have topped 700,000 so far this year, on course to beat 1.48 million in 2023, according to data from the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

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