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Posts Tagged ‘Visa Exemption’

15th July 2019

Issues surrounding the decline in tourism have been of increasing concern in Thailand over the past months. Many factors seem to be at play when discussing the issue of the tourism downturn in Thailand. For instance, fallout from the US-China Trade War may be playing an integral role in the declining number of tourists coming to Thailand since the slowing of the Chinese economy has knock-on effects regionally. Specifically, the decreased purchasing power of Chinese consumers is causing a decrease in demand for travel packages to Thailand.

The China-specific issues notwithstanding, many have pointed to the increasing strength of the Thai baht as a cause of concern. Budget conscious travelers to Thailand are being put off by the relative increase in cost to travel to the Kingdom as a result of the appreciating local currency.

Finally, some of the decreasing tourist numbers could be attributed to the increasingly stringent immigration policies being placed upon ostensible tourists. In the past, there were a number of individuals who opted to live in Thailand utilizing tourist visas or 30 day stamps. These individuals who have been tabulated as “tourists” in the immigration records, but the reality was that these people were using such visas to live in the Kingdom. New enforcement measures have been put in place and new policies promulgated which are designed to discourage such behavior. For example, where once overstay in Thailand was considered a rather trivial offense which resulted in a relatively nominal fine, especially for those who overstayed their visa for a prolonged period. Now overstay can result in deportation and a prolonged registration on the Thailand Blacklist. Meanwhile, Immigration officers at border checkpoints have been turning away prospective entrants to Thailand if they are using multiple 30 day stamps in one year or are attempting to remain for a prolonged period of time in the Kingdom on single entry or multiple entry tourist visas.

Notwithstanding the above issues, Thailand remains one of the best jurisdictions in Southeast Asia to do business. Proof of the increased interest in Thailand is the fact that Foreign Direct Investment in Thailand has increased by over 200% in 2018. This increase in FDI may be attributed to the fact that the benefits which can be accorded to companies looking to do business in Thailand under the Board of Investment (BOI) are substantial and can even include prolonged tax holidays. Meanwhile, Thailand boasts the best infrastructure in the region and Bangkok has seen tremendous real estate growth as well as infrastructural improvement including, but not limited to, the expansion of the rail system within the city. High speed rail systems are likely to be brought online in coming years as well. Clearly, although Thailand is seeing some decline in terms of tourism it is increasingly apparent that business travelers and investors are choosing the Kingdom to conduct business.

It should be noted that along with all of the above developments, Thailand remains arguably the best jurisdiction for Americans doing business in the region as Americans can enjoy the benefits of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. This agreement allows Americans citizens and American companies “national treatment” when doing business in the Kingdom thereby permitting 100% ownership of American enterprises operating in Thailand. This coupled with Thailand’s infrastructure and business environment makes Thailand an especially welcoming destination for American investment.

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1st July 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has made a new policy regarding visa-free travel for Thai nationals. In order to explore this issue more fully it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

In celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Government of Japan has decided that from July 1, nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand in possession of ordinary IC passports who wish to enter Japan for a period not exceeding 15 consecutive days for short-term stay will be made exempt from the visa requirements. The further development of Japan-Thailand exchange is expected as a result of the exemption of visa requirements, including increases in the number of tourists from Thailand who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries.

Prior to this announcement, Thai nationals wishing to visit Japan, even for a short period of time, were required to obtain a visa in advance. Although limited to only 15 days of visa-free lawful status in Japan, this policy change is likely to have a significant impact upon Thai-Japanese travel patterns with the upshot that Japan is likely to see a rise in Thai tourists visitng that country. The Japanese government also noted that visa-free travel privileges do not extend to all travelers wishing to visit Japan:

However, those entering Japan with intentions other than those noted above; or in other words, those who wish to stay in Japan for short-term stay of over 15 days or who wish to stay for purposes such as work, will be required to obtain visas in advance. In addition, this visa exemption applies only to those with an ordinary IC passport. Nationals of the Kingdom of Thailand who do not hold an ordinary IC passport continue to be required to obtain a visa.

Those interested in this recent announcement are encouraged to click upon the hyperlink noted above to view this announcement in detail. It would appear that although Japan is granting limited visa-free travel privileges to Thais these privileges are only to be used by those wishing to travel to Japan for short periods of time as tourists. In much the same way that Thailand grants Thai Visa Exemptions to passport holders from many different countries, but requires those wishing to work or reside in Thailand to obtain a long term visa (and later extension) prior to arrival; so too are Japanese officials attempting to make certain that those lawfully present in Japan are there only for short periods of time and not utilizing this privilege as a means of maintaining permanent presence.

For related information please see: Thailand Business Visa.

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