As China opens up post-Covid, the country is now actively encouraging both in and out-bound travel, with agreements signed with a number of countries to offer mutual visa-free entry. Reuters reports that the latest agreement has been signed between Thailand and China to waive visa requirements for each other’s nationals to facilitate travel and tourism between the two countries, both very much affected by Covid-19.
Visa-free entry benefits
Thai Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi signed the mutual visa exemption, which takes effect on 1st March 2024, at a ceremony in Bangkok. Speaking joint press conference, Wang Yi said he expects that the new visa-free entry will greatly increase people-to-people exchanges.
Prior to the lockdowns and border closures of both countries during Covid, China was a top source for Thailand’s tourism industry, a major driver of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, but the return of Chinese tourists to Thailand has been slow.
…. There will be a big increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi
The number of Chinese tourists to Thailand plunged to 3.5 million last year from 11 million in 2019 before the pandemic. At the meeting, Beijing and Bangkok also pledged to speed-up the construction of the China-Thailand railway, which currently stops at the Thai Laos border and work together in the prevention of transnational crimes.