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China-Thailand Sign A Mutual Visa-Waiver Agreement

On the 28th of January 2024, China and Thailand inked a mutual visa-waiver agreement in Bangkok, Thailand. China’s Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi met with Thailand’s Foreign Minister Mr. Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara and came to a consensus after rigorous and continuous communication and negotiation.

In this Pacific Prime article, we will explore the China-Thailand visa waiver agreement is about, and what impact it is going to have on both countries.

Visa-Free Agreement Terms

The agreement was set to take effect from the 1st of March 2024, allowing Chinese passport holders and holders of the Passport for Public Affairs to travel to Thailand without a visa and stay for a maximum of 30 days, up to 90 days in a period of 180 days.

For those who enter Thailand to work, study, reside, report news, and for other activities that require prior approval and plan to stay over 30 days, they will have to apply for a visa like it was before the agreement.

Sudden Impact: A Significant Increment in Tourist Numbers

Chinese Tourists

Right before the pandemic, Chinese travelers made up 27% of the 40 million foreign visitors in Thailand. After the pandemic, however, the number of Chinese visitors hasn’t been able to bounce back. Only 3.5 million out of 28 million Thailand visitors are from China, surpassed by Malaysia.

Almost instantly after the contract was signed, the persons in charge of airlines to Bangkok disclosed that the flights from Chengdu to Bangkok have an average of 75% to 80% occupancy rate; these flights were almost full with only a few remaining seats.

What’s more, according to C-trip, the number of bookings for Thailand for the 2024 Spring Festival has increased by more than 13 times in comparison to the year before. Both indicators show heightened interest in traveling to Thailand without a visa application among Chinese visitors.

Airline companies in China such as Sichuan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Spring Airlines have opened flights between Chengdu and many places in Thailand, up to a total of 86 weekly flights to Thailand’s major destinations: Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Hat Yai.

Thai Tourists

On the other hand, an increased willingness for Thais to travel to China is also evident. Jin Zhiming, the director of the Chengdu Office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, stated that Thais were more than delighted to hear that they no longer need to go through the cumbersome application procedures.

An experienced tour guide from Thailand revealed that in the past, Thai citizens traveling to China had to go through a week-long visa application process and pay a processing fee of RMB ¥600 (approximately THB ฿3,000). This agreement brings higher autonomy and convenience whilst reducing cost and time.

A Mutually-Beneficial Relationship

China and Thailand agreed to speed up the development of the China-Laos-Thailand railway during the meeting, completely implement the China-Laos-Thailand Connectivity Development Corridor Outlook, and open the central line of the Trans-Asian Railway as soon as possible.

Benefits to China

China will import more agricultural products from Thailand, support more Chinese companies’ growth and investment in Thailand, and foster new drivers of cooperation in new energy vehicles, digital economy, and green development.

As the two countries officially enter a visa-free era, the scheme surely will bring our people-to-people exchanges to a new height. There will be a big increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand.” – Mr. Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister

Benefits to Thailand

Tourism is the central pillar of support for Thailand’s economy, and China has tourists with the highest spending power and willingness in the world, further driving the net income from the tourism industry.

“By implementing the visa-free scheme, Thailand’s domestic tourism market will flourish once more following the return of Chinese tourists” – Mr. Srettha Thavisin, Thailand’s Prime Minister

Visa-Waiver Agreement: What to Expect in the Future?

With the 50th anniversary of the Chinese-Thai diplomatic relations establishment on the horizon, the visa-waiver agreement brings the countries closer as a family, maintaining a stable and sustainable entity, all while pursuing the empowerment of the countries on the East side of the globe.

Looking ahead, both parties/China and Thailand can anticipate their relationships to improve over time, and the economy is likely to bounce back to its former state, if not surpass it.

Prioritize Your Health with Pacific Prime

If you would like to experience what Thailand is like in the future in this visa-free era, secure individual health insurance or travel insurance to make your trip to Thailand more memorable and enjoyable.

Pacific Prime is an insurance intermediary operating on a global scale. We can find and compare insurance plans compatible with your needs and budget. Contact us today for advice on insurance matters!

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Disclaimer: Pacific Prime solely represents, operates and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.

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