Thailand will start offering multiple-entry visas to visitors from any country, in a bid to boost its tourism industry.
The Nation newspaper reported the country’s Minister for Tourism & Sports, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, as saying this week that the Thai cabinet has rubber-stamped the scheme, which is now expected to be implemented within 60 days.
Currently, citizens of 57 countries are offered single-visit visa-free entry to the country, for stays of between 14 and 90 days, depending on the nationality.
But under the new scheme announced by Ms Kobkarn, travellers will be able to enter the country multiple times over the course of six months. The government plans to charge THB5,000 (US$142) for the six-month visa.
The move will bring Thailand into line with several other ASEAN countries, and the multiple-entry visa is expected to boost travel within the ASEAN region.
This is Thailand’s second visa announcement in as many weeks; last week the country started offering visa-free entry to citizens of Myanmar entering at Thai airports.
Thailand is currently recovering from a difficult 2014, when political unrest, a military coup and martial law caused a sharp decline in visitor arrivals.
According to the most recent figures released by the Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Thailand welcomed a total of 15.8 million visitors between January and mid-July 2015, up 30% year-on-year. International tourism receipts also climbed 30%, to THB741.12 billion.
The country is targeting 28m arrivals for the full-year 2015.